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Texans staying patient, examining diverse head coach candidate list

The Houston Texans plan to conduct additional follow-up interviews with one or more of their head-coaching candidates early this coming week, per sources -- a critical juncture in the NFL's last open search, and one that continues to include several experienced, respected Black coaches in a year none have been hired.

Former Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell had a second interview -- and first with new Texans general manager Nick Caserio -- this past week. Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy are eligible for second interviews after Sunday's AFC title game. Baltimore Ravens assistant head coach David Culley remains a candidate as well, as do Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and longtime NFL quarterback Josh McCown.

For all the scrutiny of the Texans' search process, and speculation about quarterback Deshaun Watson's future amidst frustration about his lack of input, Houston landed a coveted GM in Caserio, who won six Super Bowl rings in New England. Now, the Texans are exercising patience with the diverse pool of head-coaching candidates they've put together since Caserio took control of the search.

Hiring the even-keeled Frazier or Caldwell -- two former assistants of Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, who has consulted with Texans owner Cal McNair on the hire -- would provide a steady hand to a franchise that needs it after a tumultuous four months that began with the October dismissal of coach/GM Bill O'Brien.

After months of discussion about the NFL's enhanced diversity efforts, it also would make the Texans just the second team to hire a minority head coach in this cycle; the New York Jets hired Robert Saleh, who is Lebanese, earlier this month.

The interview of McCown, 41, made waves Friday because it would be his first coaching job, though he has played 19 NFL seasons and effectively been a player-coach for the last five. McCown has always planned to get into coaching and has long been identified as a future NFL head coach. But his plan has been to watch his sons play high school football over the next couple years first and he's still mulling his options, per sources. Signed off the Eagles' practice squad in November, McCown is under contract with the Texans -- as a player -- for 2021.

Watson's frustration is well-documented, but he has not gone public with any trade request nor have the Texans shown any interest in trading him, per sources. The Texans have rejected multiple requests by other teams to interview offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, whom Watson likes. The eventual head-coaching hire may help determine what happens next.

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