Escalating the controversy surrounding the NFL's new COVID policy, former Houston Texans' offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was fired Friday for refusing to get vaccinated. Dennison, on Houston's staff 2010-2013, was the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line coach. ... but on Monday, he is re-employed by Minnesota in a sort of "compromise'' role.
The Vikings went through with their other changes and have named Phil Rauscher as offensive line coach and have added Ben Steele as his assistant. And Dennison? Rather than be fired, he's been re-assigned as a "senior offensive advisor.''
Dennison is believed to be the first NFL coach terminated for not agreeing to the NFL's COVID guidelines, which stipulate that all Tier 1 staff - including coaches, front-office executives, equipment manager and scouts - be vaccinated.
In his new role, it is assumed that Dennison won't come in direct contact with players.
NFL Week 3 Preview: Texans To Shine In Prime Time Against Panthers
TexansDaily previews the Houston Texans-Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.
What The Key For The Texans To Beat The Panthers?
With a new quarterback, the Texans must trust their ground game
What's Texans Justin Reid's Status For Thursday Night Football?
The Texans will likely be down a safety against Carolina
The NFL on Thursday sent teams a memo outlining forfeit procedures should a team's unvaccinated players suffer a COVID outbreak. Several high-profile players, including former Texans' receiver DeAndre Hopkins, reacted passionately to the news.
Dennison, 63, has played for coached in the NFL for 30 years. He played in three Super Bowls as a linebacker for the Denver Broncos and coached at a variety of levels for six teams.
He came to Houston in 2010 on head coach Gary Kubiak's staff. During his time the Texans ranked fifth in the NFL in offense, averaging 390 yards and 24.7 points per game. Quarterbacked by Matt Schaub, Dennison's offense powered Houston to two AFC South championships and two playoff wins.
In 2011, Dennison was a finalist for the Broncos' head coaching job, which went to John Fox. He previously coached quarterback Jay Cutler and receiver Brandon Marshall to Pro Bowl seasons in Denver.
When Kubiak was fired late in the disastrous 2-14 season of 2013, Dennison caught on as the quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens. And now, a few days after being fired, he's "caught on'' again, back in Minnesota.