Texans GM Rick Smith, coach Bill O'Brien's relationship is 'toxic'

Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets

Smith has been the general manager for the franchise since 2006 and was elevated to an additional role as executive vice president in 2012.

"I am eternally grateful to the McNair family for their unwavering support during this trying time", Smith said in a statement Sunday.

That came after Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported Friday that a source called the relationship between Smith and O'Brien "toxic" and "dysfunctional". "This was an extremely hard decision for me to make as I love this organization and every member of this team bath on and off the field".

From a contractual standpoint, O'Brien has limited leverage since one year remains on his Texans deal. They would like to have the position filled this week, according to persons familiar with the situation.

Smith's priorities are understandably and appropriately elsewhere with his wife undergoing treatment, so handing personnel control to someone else may be a sound decision for all involved with the Texans.

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O'Brien's contract says he's in charge of who plays and doesn't play.

O'Brien won two AFC South Championships but this year's team couldn't overcome season-ending injuries to marquee players like Watson, defensive end J.J. Watt and linebacker Whitney Mercilus. Houston has traded away its first- and second-round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft and does not have a pick until the third round.

Houston (4-12) lost its final six games of the season and nine of its last 10, prompting speculation there may be a shake-up in the front office, on the coaching staff or both.

The Texans were apparently deliberating whether or not to fire O'Brien at the end of this season, but that doesn't appear to be the case any longer.

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