The Houston Texans got their man in DeMeco Ryans. After a storied career with the franchise, including earning AP Defensive Rookie of the Year (2006), PFWA Rookie of the Year (2006), first-team All-Pro (2007) and two Pro Bowl nods (2007, 2009), the teams gets a storybook ending with Ryans returning as head coach. A highly-coveted candidate, Ryans was requested for interviews by all five teams searching for a new head coach this offseason.
"When it came down to it, there is no place I wanted to be any more than H-Town," Ryans said Thursday. "It was an easy pick for me. It was a no-brainer to be here, be home. It was a no-brainer. It wasn't a difficult decision at all. It was very easy."
Sitting in the team auditorium where he once attended meetings as a player, Ryans held his introductory press conference alongside Chair and CEO Cal McNair and General Manager Nick Caserio.
"Now here with the Texans, I can't thank you enough, Cal (McNair), Nick (Caserio)," Ryans said. "I can't thank you guys enough for believing in me, to give me this opportunity to lead the Texans, the team that drafted me here in 2006. It's a surreal moment for me, and I'm thankful to God that He has just paved the way for me through everything that I've been through in life and for my paths to end up back here in my home, in H-Town where it all started. It's truly a blessing."
Ryans will take over a team that has young talent, hefty draft capital which include five picks in the top 73 slots and about $40 million in cap space. As the 49ers defensive coordinator, Ryans coached three players to first-team All-Pro honors (Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Talanoa Hufanga). He has high hopes for the young talent on the Texans roster too.
"That's what excites me the most is being able to work with young guys and young guys who are talented. (Derek) Stingley has outstanding talent," Ryans said. "Scouted him the last year, and I know the talent that he has. I know the competitor that he is. Going to put him in position to make a lot of plays for us. Put him in a position where he can excel and showcase his talents. Seeing Jalen Pitre, loved him coming out of Baylor. Loved the blitzing, loved just the play speed of Pitre. Just to see him come out this past year and five interceptions, the way he attacked the ball, man, Jalen, we got to continue to do that. We've got to continue to take the ball away. Christian (Harris), linebacker, fast, physical linebacker. Those are the type of players we can build around."
In 2011, Ryans' final season in Houston ended in the first playoff appearance and win in franchise history. With nearly 30 former and current players in attendance for Ryans' press conference, the excitement for his return as head coach was palpable. The 38-year-old head coach is looking to bring back playoff football and, ultimately, a championship to the city of Houston.
"Man, I'm fired up," Ryans said. "This is a young team. We're on the cusp. We have to add some pieces to what we're doing here, but I'm so excited to get started and get to work with you young guys, and to build a winning program here with the Texans. I'm fired up. The excitement is real, and I can't wait to get to work, to get to coaching. We want to bring a winning team. That's what we want to bring to Houston. We want to bring you guys a team that you're going to be proud of as fans. We're going to fill up NRG Stadium, and we want you guys to make this truly a homefield advantage for us again."