Ryan Mallett is a wanted man.
The Texans' top two decision makers, general manager Rick Smith and head coach Bill O'Brien, both made it clear on Thursday in Indianapolis that they want the free agent quarterback to remain in Houston.
"We're hopeful we get him back," Smith said during a Combine press conference.
Moments later, when O'Brien addressed the media, he reinforced Smith's comments.
"We'd like to have him back in Houston," O'Brien said.
Mallett is an unrestricted free agent, and he started a pair of games for the Texans in November. He helped lead the Texans to a road victory over the Browns in Week 11. Seven days later, while battling through a pectoral injury, Mallett and the Texans fell to the Bengals at NRG Stadium. But in his time with the team from when he was acquired in a late-August trade with the Patriots to now, Mallett's done nothing but impress O'Brien and Smith.
"I've known Ryan since his rookie year," O'Brien said. "I really have a good connection with Ryan. George Godsey our quarterback coach, has a real good connection with him too. He enjoys playing in our system. We enjoy coaching him."
Mallett was placed on injured reserve after the Week 12 defeat to Cincinnati, and he finished with 400 yards passing, along with two touchdowns and pair of interceptions. He was drafted by New England in 2011, and according to both Smith and O'Brien, it's evident he learned a lot under Tom Brady.
"He had picked up several leadership traits that were impressive, playing behind such a great player," Smith said. "And he was able to incorporate that in his stuff, in his style."
Smith reiterated that Mallett was "one of several" Texans free agents they wanted to resign this offseason, and that he was anxious to see the former Arkansas Razorback competing again under center.
GM Rick Smith, head coach Bill O'Brien and numerous NFL hopefuls met with the media Thursday at the Combine.