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O'Brien: No confrontation with GM over cutting Mallett

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Bill O'Brien insists that no power struggle exists inside the walls of the Houston Texans.

Responding to a report of front-office discord in the wake of releasing quarterback Ryan Mallett, the team's head coach used the word "partnership" to describe his working relationship with general manager Rick Smith.

"I've been told over the last couple of days that a lot of things have been said in the media about how the organization works," O'Brien said, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. "Let me say this: Rick and I have respect for each other. We work together and communicate every day. It's a partnership. Decisions are made by the two of us.

"Obviously, they require the concurrence of the owner, Bob McNair. That's how it works around here."

The Chronicle on Monday cited sources with direct knowledge of the situation to report that "O'Brien wanted -- and tried -- to cut Mallett before the Texans ever took the field" for Sunday's 44-26 loss to the Dolphins. Despite Mallett missing the team flight to Miami -- not his first off-the-field incident -- O'Brien, per the report, was overruled by Smith.

The GM reportedly lobbied to keep Mallett because he wanted a capable backup for Brian Hoyer against the Dolphins, waiting until Tuesday to cut the enigmatic quarterback before signing former Texans passer T.J. Yates.

Asked if there was a confrontation with Smith over the move, O'Brien on Wednesday said, "No," insisting that the two consistently work out their disagreements.

NFL Media's Albert Breer tweeted that while "gray area" exists in the duo's working relationship, O'Brien houses the contractual power to cut players. Former coach Gary Kubiak, by comparison, did not.

Breer emphasized that Texans owner Bob McNair wants O'Brien and Smith to agree on roster decisions and pass on ones they can't agree on.

Mallett, for one, would agree that O'Brien had his way in the end.

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