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Brock Osweiler's fairytale has turned into a nightmare

Brock Osweiler isn't an easy guy to feel sorry for.

Here's a genetically gifted, 6-foot-7 statue with luxurious hair, enviable scruff, a rocket right arm and one of those annoyingly symmetrical faces. One can safely assume Osweiler was the Babe Ruth of his Montana high school. From there, he played college ball at ASU (think he had a good time on that campus?) before beginning a well-paid, low-pressure apprenticeship under one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

(Seriously, what could Peyton Manning -- universally hailed as the most cerebral quarterback in NFL history -- get on the open market if he hawked his football acumen to the highest bidder? He wouldn't have to pretend to be friends with Papa John anymore, that's for damn sure.)

Once Brock collected a Super Bowl ring and that rookie contract ran out, he threw up deuces on John Elway and signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans, whose owner caught a nasty case of Franchise Quarterback Fever just as Osweiler reached the open market for the first time.

For those scoring at home, Osweiler was now impossibly wealthy in addition to the following pre-stated traits: remarkably tall, follicly blessed, athletically gifted, symmetrically attractive, enviably apprenticed.

But the Brock fairytale has taken a sharp turn to the dark side in the last six weeks. Osweiler is playing poorly -- I mean, really poorly -- and the Texans limp into this weekend still trying to make sense of an ugly prime-time loss to the Broncos in which an overmatched Osweiler threw for just 131 yards on 41 pass attempts against his former team. He's actually had three games in which he passed for fewer than 200 yards on 40 or more passes. That's the most such games in a single season since at least 1950. And it's only Week 8, people!

If you cup your ear and turn in the right direction, you can actually hear John Elway's fierce cackle bouncing off the Rocky Mountains.

The natives, meanwhile, are restless. One disgruntled Texans fan started a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising enough cash to buy out Osweiler's $72 million deal. (The contract only actually includes $37 million guaranteed, but maybe the guy's a capitalist.)

"I am a diehard Texans fan and we need to get rid of Brock Osweiler or we're not going anywhere," wrote the man who probably shares similar world views to De Niro's character in "The Fan." "He is a waste of 72 million and for a dollar a day we can get him out and make DeAndre Hopkins happy."

Meanwhile, the scene on the Texans' sideline was as grim as you'd expect in the waning moments of Monday night's loss. One ESPN camera shot lingered on the owner's box, where Bob McNair and general manager Rick Smith sat in silence, looking as lost as your 90-year-old grandfather trying to make sense of an episode of "Westworld."

One can understand their dour mood. When you whiff on a first-round pick at quarterback, it can set you back years. The extended period spent trying to develop the prospect is valuable time wasted. Then there's the philosophical and strategic reboot that comes with the inevitable firing of the coach and/or general manager. The same fallout applies to the high-profile signing of a free-agent passer.

This acquisition was unusual for a few reasons. That Osweiler was even available was a surprise, seeing as the vast majority of the football world -- not to mention Elway -- believed Osweiler would sign a second contract with the Broncos. When Osweiler opted to skip town, it gave the Texans the opportunity to find a franchise passer on the open market. This hardly ever happens. (The Peyton Manning Sweepstakes of 2012 was a fever dream that stands as a notable exception in this conversation.)

The rub here is obvious. The Texans had no actual proof Osweiler was a legitimate franchise quarterback -- he just looked the part. Texans coach Bill O'Brien met with Osweiler for about 10 seconds before the two sides agreed to a deal. But the Texans were desperate. They were left embarrassed by a Brian Hoyer meltdown in the playoffs and ownership demanded an immediate fix to a problem that rarely offers instant solutions.

Facing internal pressure, Smith and O'Brien rolled the dice on Osweiler. As colleague Chris Wesseling said on the "Around The NFL Podcast," Osweiler currently looks the part of a $72 million boondoggle for the franchise. It's a situation that might set Houston back in 2016 ... and beyond.

Osweiler, meanwhile, has nowhere to hide. Before this year, the biggest mistake of his life was probably the its/it's fail of his triceps tattoo. But it's not hard to picture Osweiler lying in bed early Tuesday morning cursing at the ceiling for taking $18 million a year from Houston when the Broncos had $16 million on the table. Osweiler could have been in the safe cocoon currently occupied by Trevor Siemian. He wanted more. Now he has it.

Like I said, it's not easy to feel sorry for Brock Osweiler. But I don't envy the man right now.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus and check out his stuff on the End Around.

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