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GM Smith receives extension from Texans through 2012

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans have signed general manager Rick Smith to a four-year contract extension -- keeping him with the team at least through 2012.

Smith, one of three black general managers in the NFL, was hired in 2006 and is the second general manager in Texans history. He spent 10 years with coach Gary Kubiak while the coach was offensive coordinator of the Broncos.

"He's done an outstanding job for us and he really has a good understanding of not only football, but other challenges that we face in putting together a successful organization," owner Bob McNair said.

The Texans hope the extension will bring added stability to a franchise entering its seventh season still looking for its first winning record and playoff berth. The Texans reached .500 for the first time in 2007.

"We feel confident that these players are working extremely hard to reach our goals, and we feel like this organization is at a point now where we're poised to do some good things," Smith said. "Everybody understands that the only way we're going to do it is by extremely hard work. We're committed to doing that and I feel good about the fact that I can relax, knowing that we're going to be here and we can go about the job of building this franchise."

Smith was Denver's defensive assistant for four seasons before moving into the front office for his last six years with the Broncos. At 38, he is the youngest general manager in the NFL.

Kubiak recalled Tuesday when the Broncos hired Smith, who at the time was just starting an assistant coaching job at TCU.

"I said to him this morning: 'You've come a long way,"' Kubiak said. "Rick's done a tremendous job since he's been here, building this roster and this football team."

"We've come a long way together," Smith said. "I'm proud of him and the job that he's doing and that's a big part of what we all are doing. We're on our way. We're so confident."

Smith replaced Charley Casserly, who resigned following the 2006 draft when the Texans used the No. 1 overall pick on Mario Williams instead of fan favorites Vince Young or Reggie Bush.

Since then, Smith has drafted defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and receiver Jacoby Jones. He traded down in this year's draft and snagged left tackle Duane Brown, a player coaches coveted although Brown was rated by most teams as a second-round pick.

Smith also helped make the decision to release quarterback and former top pick David Carr and engineered the trade that brought Matt Schaub from Atlanta. Another key personnel move was signing free agent Andre' Davis, who was vital last season with receiver Andre Johnson and former kick returner Jerome Mathis out injured.

"We've seen what he's done during this period of time," McNair said. "We think he's very capable and that he can do the job in a very professional manner. And the main thing is finding the talent, and I think he's done a very good job of that."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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