On Sunday night, Houston Texans Chair and CEO Cal McNair issued a statement announced that the team parted ways with Head Coach Lovie Smith. Following the team's Week 18 win in Indianapolis, the Texans finished with a 3-13-1 record. McNair and General Manager Nick Caserio met with Smith and informed him that the team would be moving in a different direction.
"We know the last two seasons have not been what we had hoped for, but we are committed to building a program that's successful long term." McNair said Monday. "We've dealt with unprecedented circumstances over the last several years but we're excited about our future and where we are headed."
McNair took over the team's ownership after his father, the late Robert C. McNair, passed away in November 2018. This will be Cal McNair's third head coaching hire since 2020, when Bill O'Brien was fired in Week 4.
"For this hire, I'll be taking on a more active role in this process," McNair said. "The league has done a great job of establishing an equitable and inclusive head coach hiring process which we fully support."
Caserio, who wrapped up his second season as the Texans general manager, confirmed that the Texans have already begun identifying candidates for the head coach search. Since his hiring in January 2021, Caserio facilitated the Deshaun Watson trade last March for a 2022 first-round pick (No. 13 overall), 2023 and 2024 first-round picks, a 2022 fourth-round choice (No. 107), a third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2024. Currently, the Texans have 11 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
However, the Texans have gone 7-26-1 during Caserio's tenure as they begin their search for the sixth head coach in franchise history. Caserio accepted responsibility for the Texans performance over the past two seasons.
"We have a lot of work in front of us, but I don't think anybody is discouraged," Caserio said. "I think we're all disappointed about where we are currently. I'd say I don't want to speak for anybody other than myself I'm certainly disappointed about where we are. I take as much responsibility in where we are and I'm accountable to everybody in this building. Quite frankly, I'm probably more disappointed in myself more than anybody but I'm also excited about the opportunity we have in front of us."
Caserio met with the coaching staff and players earlier Monday. He addressed the team prior to the players' exit process to communicate the team's direction.
"My message was about accountability and I take responsibility for where we are and that I'm committed to them in doing everything that I can," Caserio said.
Players shared their reaction to the news as they cleaned out their lockers for the final time.
"Oh man, it's part of the game," Jonathan Greenard said. "We've been here before. At this point, just got to move forward. Hopefully whoever comes in, we are just going to keep playing for him and work hard. I'm just worried about getting healthy getting into the offseason as much as everybody else should be doing at this time and just go from there."