Just two seasons after replacing one longtime coach, Penn State could soon be looking for another replacement to lead its football program. ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Shefter report that the NFL's Houston Texans are working on a deal to make Nittany Lions headman Bill O'Brien the franchise's next head coach.
The Texans met with O'Brien this week at his home in Cape Cod. O'Brien has emerged as the favorite for the job, and a deal could be in place within the next week, according to ESPN's report.
The Texans had been doing due diligence on O'Brien, including his six-year stint with the New England Patriots. The feedback has been strong in his favor, sources said, which motivated Houston to commence negotiations to get a deal in place.
O'Brien, an assistant with the New England Patriots from 2007 to '12, wrapped his second season at Penn State this fall. The coach was the Big Ten's Coach of the Year in 2012, when he replaced longtime coach Joe Paterno following the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. In the thick of heavy NCAA sanctions, O'Brien went 8-4 in his first season in Happy Valley and 7-5 in 2013.
O'Brien's name surfaced in connections to NFL jobs after his first season at Penn State in 2012, but the school lowered his buyout to join an NFL team from $19.33 million to $6.48 million as a condition for his return this season, the report states. The 2-13 Texans are looking to replace Gary Kubiak, who was fired earlier this month.