Lovie Smith is returning to the NFL.
The former Chicago Bears head coach has agreed to a deal with the Houston Texans to become defensive coordinator under new head coach David Culley, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Smith joins the Texans after a five-year stint as the head coach at the University of Illinois, where he accrued a 17-39 record. His tenure ended following a 2-5 season in 2020.
Before Illinois, Smith was the head coach of the Bears for nine seasons and held the same role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons. He holds an 89-87 record as a professional coach, highlighted by a trip to Super Bowl XLI in 2007 with the Bears.
How David Culley’s Texans staff is shaping up
Smith’s addition adds a veteran coach to the staff of Culley, the oldest first-time head coach in NFL history. The Texans hired Culley, a longtime assistant under Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, from the Baltimore Ravens, where he was associate head coach, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Opposite Smith will be offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, who was retained from the staff of Bill O’Brien, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Smith will reportedly call plays on defense, and it seems likely Kelly will do the same after calling offensive players under Bill O’Brien.
The team’s other major hire is reportedly Pep Hamilton as quarterbacks coach, per Rapoport. Hamilton just spent a season with the Los Angeles Chargers coaching Justin Herbert to a stellar rookie campaign. The team also reportedly targeted active quarterback Josh McCown, who interviewed for the head coaching job, as an assistant, though it’s unclear if Hamilton’s hire gets in the way of that.
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