DeMeco Ryans is the first Texans coach with DNA spliced directly from Deep Steel Blue.
He was drafted by Charley Casserly and coached by Gary Kubiak.
He played with J.J. Watt and Andre Johnson.
He worked for Bob McNair and shook hands with Bum Phillips.
Now, the McNairs have brought him home.
When Ryans was drafted, the first three rounds were still on a Saturday. That day began with fans questioning the selection of Mario Williams at number one overall (which certainly turned out to be the right choice).
When round two started, the Texans grabbed Ryans, clearly a first-round talent, and it just stabilized everything. Houston was on its way to perhaps its best class with Eric Winston, Owen Daniels and David Anderson also being selected. Drafting Ryans allowed everyone to exhale and truly celebrate. Just like now.
When his rookie camp arrived, it was clear to everyone Ryans was a leader and mature beyond his years. He took command of the defense right away, instantly floating to the top of the depth chart and showing leadership skills that defied his rookie status. His teammates started calling him "Cap."
A few weeks later, I emceed a Texans event and one of the other rookies asked who I was. Ryans told him exactly who I was and what I did. For a rookie to absorb that kind of information – the identity and job description of someone who was clearly not essential to what's actually going on between the lines, was impressive.
He was NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and a two-time Pro Bowler. He was the defensive leader from '06-'11 as the Texans got their first .500 season, their first winning season and their first playoff season.
You never know if a player will become a coach but you always knew he had the chops to do it. Well, he's done it and done it superbly.
The San Francisco 49ers have been around since 1946. They've won five Super Bowls and played in seven. They've never had the number one defense in both points-allowed and yards – until DeMeco Ryans led them.
The equation of obvious leadership skills combined with on-field results plus Texans history make this the most celebrated Texans coaching hire ever. I hate to rank them. Kubiak is a Houstonian who played in Aggieland and at St. Pius. But there's something about an actual franchise player taking the reins that Kubiak would admit is ultra-compelling.
New fans and established ones are rejoicing. There's electricity in the air. The franchise is ready to take off again. It's only the beginning but Ryans is where he belongs and ready to lead the way.