Penn State coach Bill O'Brien's potential return to the NFL is picking up steam.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on NFL Network's "Around the League Live" that O'Brien is one of the Houston Texans' top candidates to fill their coaching job, according to sources familiar with the team's process. O'Brien and the Texans agreed to have an interview after Christmas, which means it's already happened or it will happen in the near future.
League executives view O'Brien, the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, as a very real possibility to leap from college back to the NFL. Rapoport notes that O'Brien's NFL buyout was reduced from $13 million to $6.5 million in March. That news was made public in June.
It is surprising from the outside that an NFL team would be so willing to pay a big buyout, but $6.5 million is a relatively small sum for an NFL owner. Rapoport reported that Lovie Smith has already interviewed for the Texans job.