Rick Smith is stepping aside from the Texans.
Texans general manager Rick Smith is taking “an extended leave of absence” after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, he announced after Sunday’s game.
“Effective immediately, I have chosen to take an extended leave of absence to focus my attention and intention on my wife’s complete recovery from her recent diagnosis of breast cancer,” Smith said in a statement. “I remain committed to our quest to bring a championship to the city of Houston yet my family needs me now and they are my priority.”
Smith’s decision to step away comes amid reports of discord with head coach Bill O’Brien. The relationship is “toxic” and “dysfunctional,” the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson reported this week. According Alex Marvez of Sporting News, O’Brien was planning to meet with owner Bob McNair and offer an ultimatum—either Smith gets the boot or O’Brien leaves. That tracks with what Wilson reported, that it could be an “either-or-situation” with O’Brien and Smith.
Smith has been Houston’s GM since 2006, during which time the Texans have compiled a 92–100 record. They have been to the playoffs four times and won three postseason games.