When Gary Kubiak took the reins of the Houston Texans as the second head coach in franchise history, DeMeco Ryans was preparing for the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine. Now 17 years later, former All-Pro linebacker becomes a first-time head coach for the team that drafted him with a second-round selection.
"With DeMeco, it's kind of special for me because that class that we drafted that year that came through had a lot to do with turning the program around," Kubiak said on SportsRadio 610's In the Loop on Monday. "And obviously, he was a huge piece of that. Just looking at the press conference the other day and seeing all those players that were sitting there supporting him, just tells you how well he's thought of and I don't have to tell you all that. It just makes everybody want to root for him and do everything they can to help him be successful here in Houston."
With over two dozen former teammates and 10 current players attending his introductory press conference, Ryans received a Texas-sized welcome back to NRG Stadium last week. With the Combine just three weeks away and Pro Days around the corner, Ryans is currently focused on assembling his coaching staff.
Currently retired and back at his ranch outside of Houston, Kubiak reached out to Ryans to pass along some words of advice for his former team captain and first-time head coach.
It will get done.
"'DeMeco, go carry that with you because you're going to feel overwhelmed,'" Kubiak said to Ryans. "'There's so much to do. Just take your time, be patient and what you're doing. Things will get done. Make sure you surround yourself with great people.' And that's the most important thing right now, surrounding himself with great people. The excitement of the town, the excitement of the news, all of that stuff is going to push him forward. But just being really set on getting the good people around him so he can go to work."
While Kubiak and his staff saw the coaching potential, he credits former Texans LBs coach Johnny Holland and his former OC Kyle Shanahan for their relentless pursuit in getting Ryans to join the coaching ranks after retiring from football. Ryans agreed, joining them on the 49ers coaching staff where Holland is the LBs coach on HC Shanahan's staff.
"He found a love for it and what is it, six years later, he's the head coach in the NFL," Kubiak said. "So I think the biggest thing is everybody's just so proud of his path. And, you know, coaching is a better place because somebody like DeMeco is a part of it."