After upsetting his superstar quarterback, Texans owner Cal McNair has vowed to go about things differently as he decides on who will be the team's next head coach. That is, he's going to do what he told Deshaun Watson he'd do before hiring a general manager: involve him.
"We want him in the loop and part of this process," McNair said Friday, per John McClain of The Houston Chronicle.
Not doing so prior to last week's hiring of GM Nick Caserio alienated the QB, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, and left McNair unable to get in contact with his best player.
McNair said he and Watson are back on texting terms but wouldn't disclose what they've discussed.
"Deshaun and I connected over text since he's returned from vacation," McNair said. "It's no secret he's disappointed in the (lack of) communication during the hiring process."
Watson initially took to Twitter to voice his frustration, writing "some things never change" soon after the Caserio news came out. While the post was later deleted, trade speculation surrounding an “extremely unhappy” Watson caught fire.
There's been no indication that Houston is actually entertaining that thought, and McNair's latest comments don't suggest as much either.
"I've watched Deshaun since he played at Clemson," he said. "I believe he can win championships here. We believe in him. He's a great person and a Texan. He's our quarterback."
It was only four months ago that the 25-year-old agreed to a lucrative four-year extension. Since then, Bill O'Brien has been dismissed as coach and general manager, while EVP of football operations Jack Easterby's influence within the organization has amplified.
Tensions seem to have reached a tipping point in the past week, with Texans great Andre Johnson calling out Easterby by name and McNair indirectly on social media, while voicing support for Watson. McNair defended his top exec Friday, noting he does not plan to fire Easterby and is not aware of him possibly resigning.
"The scrutiny on Jack is really unjustified," McNair said. "Jack was put into that role the organization needed by me. If missteps were made during that process, we'll own those within our building. Jack will (return) to the role he was brought here for and what he grew into after he got here."
That would be executive vice president of team development. Per McNair, Caserio is heading the search for a new coach. He added that Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, someone Watson has reportedly pushed for, wasn't originally a candidate because McNair was waiting on Caserio's list.
The Texans have since requested to interview Bieniemy, but because the Chiefs are no longer on bye, league rules restrict Houston from talking to the coveted coordinator until after Kansas City's season concludes. That, of course, could be weeks.
In the meantime, it sounds like the Texans still have work to do with Watson, who delivered another cryptic message Friday afternoon on Twitter after recently being inactive.