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Casserly press conference

** Owner Bob McNair

(opening statement) **"Charley and I met this morning. As I indicated and as Charley had indicated, after the draft was complete here in May, we'd sit down and talk about where we're going. And Charley indicated to me that he would like to pursue some other opportunities. He can speak for himself, but he has an interest, perhaps, in a position that's open in the league office. I've told Charley that I will support him in every way to secure a position there. I've already talked to Roger Goodell about it, and recommended Charley. I think he would be terrific for the spot.

"Charley has been with me in this effort now for over six years. We have gone through a lot of ups and downs and had a lot of pleasurable moments together. We made an awful lot of progress. We had some disappointments last year. But I think we both feel that we have the cart back on the path and it's moving in the right direction. I'm very pleased with Gary Kubiak. I'm very pleased with the way the draft went. I'm very pleased with the free agency. I think that the Texans' organization is in great shape at this point in time.

"I can't thank Charley enough for all that he has done for the Texans and for his loyalty to the organization and for his hard work and for the contribution that he has made. He has tremendous experience to the league, and he has brought that experience to bear on our behalf, and it has really proven to be beneficial to us. During the past draft, he and Gary Kubiak worked very well together. It was the first time that they had worked together, so it was important that that go smoothly, and it certainly did. So I thank Charley for all that he did to make that go smoothly.

"I'm disappointed that Charley won't be around with us. I've enjoyed his company. But I'm pleased for him in that he's going to have some other opportunities. And as I have told him, I'd be glad to help him in any way that he asks me."

(on if Casserly was fired) "No, he has not been fired, so you can forget that."

(on if Casserly's replacement will be a general manager, or if the title of the position will change) "I will look at that. I don't foresee any kind of drastic thing. Organizations evolve, and as we go forward we will look at what our needs are and the best way to organize to take care of those needs."

(on if he planned to extend Charley, or let him play out the final year of his contract) "When we met and Charley and I first started talking about it, he made known to me his interest, and really it did not go beyond that. So this is something that Charley wanted to do, and he felt it was in his best interest. He'll speak to that himself. We never got beyond that. From that point on, it was a discussion of what he wanted to do, and one of the things was this position of director of football operations for the NFL. And I guess we spent more time talking about that than anything, and what his ideas were as to what could be done in that position. So I was quite interested in what his thoughts were there because it's an important position in the league."

(on how big of a change this is for him) "It's a big change because Charley is the guy I've been working with all this time. After June 1, I'll go down and look in the office and Charley won't be in there. So that's a big change when you've been working with somebody like that for so long. But we've gotten to know each other well, and I have a lot of respect for Charley. I valued his advice and counsel. He's just had a tremendous impact on our organization and made a very valuable contribution to the Texans."

(on thinking of Charley's replacement) "We just talked this morning, Charley and I. Frankly, I haven't even thought about that. I haven't talked to anyone. I have no list. I'll start dealing with that in the next week or two and start looking at potential candidates and define the job. I'll sit down and visit with coach Kubiak and talk about his views. That will sort of be the beginning process."

(on Kubiak having final say on personnel) "Let me clarify that a little bit. We've said all along that we get players that Gary wants, but there is a lot of effort in our organization that goes into the draft process itself. Charley managed all of that. What Gary would do is define to us what he wanted in the way of a player or group of players. So then that was the challenge for Charley and his group to go out and find that which had been described to them. That doesn't change. The fact that Gary does an outstanding job of that makes it that much easier for the scouts, because they have a much clearer idea of what he really wants and what he doesn't want. We'll look for someone. The number-one criteria is they have to be a good talent evaluator. Talent and coaching the talent is what it's all about. So we have to get someone who has a good eye for talent."

(on trickle-down effect of resignation in scouting department) "I don't contemplate any other changes. Most of the people have been here for a good while now. They're Texans. They're doing a good job, and I would suspect they'd continue doing that."

(on what Charley taught him the most about the league) "That's a good question. I learned a lot from Charley. I don't know if I can say any one particular thing. I guess learning a lot about different personalities and people Charley has made trades with and who he was most comfortable with and who perhaps he wasn't as comfortable with. I think that certainly was valuable. Also, those people that he had more respect for—without saying he didn't have respect for others—but those he respected the most in terms of football people. We did so much; it's hard to single out one particular thing. The big thing that I learned and I don't know that I necessarily learned it from Charley, but certainly learned it with Charley, is the amount of work involved in league matters, as opposed to the amount of work involved just in your own franchise. I guess I misread the amount of work it takes really at the league level. Because I looked upon building a franchise and that was a major effort, but I have spent a lot of time on league matters, and Charley has spent a lot of time on league matters. We both have spent a lot more time on that then I had ever envisioned."

(on if Charley will get the job with the NFL) "I don't know whether he will or not because they really haven't started the process yet. I told Roger why I thought Charley would be a good candidate and why I thought he would do a good job. And Roger was very attentive. And we discussed some of the thoughts Charley had as to programs that would be beneficial to the league that Charley has a lot of interest in. I think Roger was quite interested in those."

(on if Dan Reeves will be part of the process of finding Charley's replacement) "Dan performed the task that I asked him to perform. I have not consulted with Dan relative to this. He has not called me. The only thing I've talked to Dan about is golf."

(on if he's worried about losing Charley's football knowledge) "Charley is a valuable resource, but I know if we can get him back up to the league office, I know where I can get my hands on him. He's not going away, I think. I suspect if I called Charley and said I have a question, unless there were a conflict of interest, I think he'd give me an honest answer. I will help him. I'd suspect he would help me if I called on him."

(on why it's happening today) "This is the appropriate time to do it. We finished the draft. The season is over. We have a coaching staff in place. We've gone through free agency. We have the draft behind us. I'm very pleased with it. Only time will tell how good it really is. But in my view it's the best draft we've had. This is the time when things slow down a little for us before training camp. This is typically the time when we sit down and review things. There is nothing unusual about the timing."

(statement to Charley)"Charley, I just want to thank you for all that you've done for the Texans. I look forward to helping you in any way, if you want me to help. We'll look forward to continuing working together in some way in the future."


General manager Charley Casserly

(Opening statement)**  "Despite what has been written and reported and there have been a lot of things reported, there was no decision made until this morning.  In regards to the timing of things, basically there are two times: there is a time at the end of the season and there is time at the end of the draft.  At the end of the season Bob (McNair) and I sat down and he asked me at that point would I be willing to stay on through the draft and do I want to stay.  And I said I want to stay on through the draft.  Lets you and I sit down at the end of the draft and we'll have hired a head coach by then and we'll have gone through free agency and we'll have gone through a draft and that is a more logical time to talk about things.

"That was timing. So you start there and you're going to stay through the off-season and you don't leave in March or April.  You leave either in December or you leave in May, otherwise you are here.  My thought was that I wanted to go through the draft and go through the off-season and I thought Gary Kubiak was a tremendous hire and I think he's going to be a heck of a football coach here.  I enjoyed my time with him.  I thought we had a productive off-season and I think this team is headed in the right direction.  I don't know that anybody in the league had a better off-season than we did.

"So how do you arrive at this decision?  I've been in this league 29 years and I've spent a lot of time talking about this with my family.  I spent the weekend with them away and talked about this and we came to the same conclusion that we had a few weeks ago that the time was right to move on.  I had the option to stay and I wasn't going to discuss anything in the future.  I could stay if I wanted to but I chose not to.  That decision was formalized this morning despite all the speculation that has been out there.  I met Bob this morning around 10 o'clock and I told him this is my final decision and that I wanted to move on.  I have an interest in doing other things right now in my life.

"I met with our football staff at 1:30 and talked to all of them.  Some of them, I talked too individually before then.  I called the out of town scouts after that and talked to the members of my family after that.  I do have an interest in the job at the league office.  They will have a letter to that affect tomorrow and I'm interested in it. I'd rather not talk anymore about it because they are the ones that make the decision on the job.  But, I've been involved in league activities for the 15 years as the general manager and in every conceivable way, so obviously I have an interest in other things besides being the general manager of a football team.

"I told Bob. I thanked him for the support he has given me in my period of time here.  There is no question that we had some tough decisions that had to be made in the off-season.  There obviously was tremendous sentiment to take the local hero Vince Young.  But Bob I thought showed a lot of courage on his part to say to us 'make the decision you think is best for the football team'.  When we came to the decision on Mario Williams, which was obviously going to be another controversial decision, he said make the decision that is best for the football team.  That showed courage by the owner.  There perhaps would have been other owners that wouldn't have done that.  They would have said 'you have to make this decision because this is the popular decision and that is all there is to it'.  And Bob showed a vision there to be able to do that.  I thanked him for that and I mean that, because I think actions speak louder than words in those situations.

"So that is pretty much it.  It's a decision that I made based on the things that I want to do at this point in my life.  I've enjoyed my time here in Houston.  I've enjoyed the relationships, especially with the staff.  I think we have a tremendous staff here.  I think anybody that comes in and wants to make any changes is making a huge mistake.  This is an outstanding staff, it's a championship staff.  Most of them have won championships at different points in there career so they know how to win and they know how to work together and they are excellent."

(on leaving the Texans with unfinished business)"I guess the way I looked at that was the off-season was the critical part.  I didn't feel comfortable leaving at the end of the season at 2-14.  I thought that this team was better than that; I thought the team needed work.  A new coach comes in, you switch defenses, you're going to have some things you're going to change, so I thought, 'I want to be here for the off-season.'  I think we had a heck of an off-season; I think this team is dramatically improved.  I feel real good about things right now.  If I didn't feel real good, I would not be up here today, resigning."

(on the temptation to stick around to work with Gary Kubiak this season) "This was not an easy decision; there's no question about that, but it was a decision I felt I had to make at this point in time.  But it was not an easy decision, and I told the staff that today.  The toughest thing I had to do was stand in front of the staff and say I was leaving.  That may be the single toughest thing I've had to do today.  But, yes, Gary and I have been talking about this for quite a while, and I think he's going to do a terrific job and that is a regret I have.  But sometimes you have to make decisions based on other reasons, though."

(on whether the hiring of Dan Reeves in January started his thought process about leaving)"I don't know about that.  I think a lot of things went into it.  The number one thing to me is what I want to do, going forward.  It has nothing to do with that (Reeves' hiring).  That's the number one thing, is there are things that I want to do.  I've expressed publicly an interest in the job (with the NFL), but there could be could be other things, too.  So we'll see what happens."

(on if he feels good about the job he did in Houston) "I feel very good.  I think we have a tremendous organization.  Anybody that comes in here and sees this organization, they understand that the people in this building know how to run a football team.  I think that when you look at our record, what I had thought coming in, this was going to be a long process—a tough process—because you weren't going to have a quick fix in free agency like you had years ago.  So I knew that was going to be tough.  I thought that we went about it systematically; we got better every year.

"This year, the record went the other way, but I never thought we were as bad as our record, and I don't think we were as bad as our record.  Now, our record is what our record is, but I think that this ball club will make a dramatic jump this year in caliber of play.  Wins and losses come, but eventually the wins will come enough to be a winning football team here.  I think that, with the off-season we had, I feel real good about it.  I'm proud of where we are right now."

(on whether he will change any after resigning)"No, I am what I am. What you see is what you get.  After six years, I think you guys know me—maybe better than I do—because you talk to me and you've observed me.  But no, I've been in this situation before.  I left the Redskins in '99 after 23 years, so I've been in through this drill before."

(on if he's concerned about his legacy) "No, you don't do this job and worry about your legacy.  You don't draft Mario Williams and worry about legacies."

(on if he will take pride if the Texans do well) "From that point of view, yeah.  I'll have pride in the fact that if this team succeeds, that I was some part of it, yes.  From that part of it, yes, but you don't worry about it.  Let me say this: when you take an expansion job—I turned down jobs to come here, now, and I told our staff about it this morning—when you take an expansion job, you can't worry about your record.  You can't worry about your legacy.  You take an expansion job because of the challenge to build a program.

"You're not going to win with an expansion team.  It takes a long time before that record ever gets on the winning side.  I never worried about that.  I always did this job because I love what I do and the challenge to do it, and for no other reasons.  I did this job 29 years ago and they didn't pay me, so that's where I come from on this."

(on if other factors were involved in his decision to resign) "No, it's the other things that I'm interested in. That's what it comes down to.  You get back to Randy's (McIlvoy) point on timing.  There's only two times to make this decision: you make it in December or you make it in May.  It's time to make a decision, so I had to make a decision now.  There's a job open that I'm interested in.  If I'm interested in it, I've got to make that decision."

(on whether anything within the organization caused him to consider resigning) "No.  Every organization has issues you deal with.  I learned that a long time ago with the Redskins, working for Bobby Beathard.  We had a lot of conversations about issues, so I learned that a long time ago.  You deal with issues.  You keep the bigger picture out in front of you, not issues.  There aren't any issues here that I can't deal with.  Obviously, we went through an off-season with a new coaching staff for four months, and I told our staff today, 'People want to go through sensitivity training and everything.  You go through a month of draft meetings, and if you come out of that still speaking to each other, that's all the training you ever need about working with people.'  That part isn't an issue at all.  I love Gary Kubiak; I really do.  That's a disappointment, but there's a point in your life where you have to make a decision, and this is it.  I've walked into air before, so that's where I am now."

(on how much more comfortable he is with Gary Kubiak now than when he hired him) "I think you learn a lot of things as you go through [with] a coach during that period of time, and the things that I didn't know about Gary, personally, were personnel.  I didn't know where he was on personnel; I didn't know how knowledgeable he was, because that's something—you can't get that in an interview.  You've got to have time to do that.  Clearly, he's a sharp personnel guy.  Just being around him, I think he's got natural leadership ability.  He's got an air about him that's natural, but is forceful.  In other words, when Gary Kubiak speaks, it's not a prepared speech, but it's from the heart and you see that.  And you see how, when he talks to players, players relate to him and like to play for him, which was one of the comments that came out over and over again when you researched him.  So I think those are the things that you see, and of course you see the day-to-day things that you never get out of an interview, which are all positive."

(on if he thinks Bob McNair has run the organization the right way)  "I think so. I feel good about that.  I think it has been done the right way.  I came in and told them how I thought they ought to run a football program here, and I think they've done it that way, so yes I do."

(on if he sees himself being a general manager again) "Not right now, I don't.  No."

(on if there is anyone he would recommend as his successor)  "That's a fair question; it's a good question, but I'm not going to answer it.  That's between Bob and myself."

(on if he's upset about reports in the media stating that he had been fired)  "Yeah, I am, and I'm glad you asked the question, and Bob answered it.  I have not been fired.  There's absolutely no truth to that at all.  I am upset about that, and in fact, there was a report that I actually called somebody about last night and asked him where he got his information.  He didn't have a very good source, I told him."

(on the exact title of the job he's pursuing with the NFL) "You know, I don't know.  It's director of football operations, but I don't know what they call it.  I don't know."

(on if he felt he had to resign in order to go after the job with the NFL)"I think it's important to show that you've got a commitment to something.  The job may not be filled for a couple of months. I hate to be picking on Randy (McIlvoy), but he's got a timing question there. You have to make a decision in May in fairness to the club, and I did say that to somebody away from here.  You can't sit here in July and go to the owner and say, 'You know, I'm interested in something else.'  You can't morally do that, and I wasn't going to do that.  The team comes first, and what's best for the team.  And that's why I'm staying until June 1: to make sure that things move smoothly here in the next couple of weeks, because you've got practice starting next week."

(on if he regrets not overruling the coaches on certain personnel decisions in the past) "Would there be some things that you would do differently again?  Yes.  Are you always going to be put in a position where you're going to reach on something that the coach wants?  There's no question about that.  I told Gary.  I said, 'Gary, three years from now, you're going to want to go after a player that, as you sit here today, you may not understand why we did it.  And you know what?  We're going to go get that player.  That happens.' But if things go wrong, I take responsibility for it.

"Thank you."

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