Texans hire Culley as coach amid drama surrounding Watson

·2 min read

HOUSTON — David Culley has been hired as the coach of the Houston Texans.

The longtime assistant gets his first head coaching job for a team in turmoil with a source telling The Associated Press this week that star quarterback Deshaun Watson has requested a trade.

The 65-year-old Culley becomes the fourth coach in Texans history, replacing Bill O’Brien, who was fired after the team opened the season 0-4.

“It was imperative to find a head coach that our entire organization could rally behind and David is unquestionably that leader,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said in a statement.

“David’s infectious energy, passion for the game and ability to command a room was clear from the start. As he shared his vision for how a head coach should lead a football team, it further solidified our belief in him. His mentality of being selfless and willing to accept any challenge while investing in each person within our program resonated with all of us.""

The Texans interviewed Kansas City offensive co-ordinator Eric Bieniemy, Indianapolis defensive co-ordinator Matt Eberflus, Buffalo assistant head coach/defensive co-ordinator Leslie Frazier, former Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, former Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis and Carolina offensive co-ordinator Joe Brady before landing on Culley — the only African American among the seven head coaches hired this off-season . The only other minority candidate who was hired as a head coach this off-season was the New York Jets’ Robert Saleh, the league’s first Muslim head coach. He is of Lebanese descent.

Houston’s coaching search has been under scrutiny after the team did not initially request to interview Bieniemy, and Sports Illustrated reported that the decision upset Watson.

The quarterback was already unhappy that owner Cal McNair did not take his opinion into account when hiring Caserio, according to reports from ESPN and the NFL Network. Houston requested to interview Bieniemy after reports surfaced that Watson was upset.

Culley, who has been with the Ravens since 2019, has worked as an NFL assistant since 1994, also spending time with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Buffalo. He began his career as a college assistant and spent 1991-93 at Texas A&M.


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Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press