Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien is on the short list for the Houston Texans’ top spot, according to multiple reports.
O’Brien met with the Texans last week, ESPN is reporting. Meanwhile, a number of the Sunday NFL shows reported that O’Brien is the “overwhelming favorite” to join the Texans, The Philadelphia Inquirer says.
O’Brien just completed his second season as Penn State’s football coach. He replaced longtime coach Joe Paterno, who was fired by the university’s Board of Trustees during the board’s investigation into the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.
O’Brien was the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2012, and has been widely praised for his work with the team in light of tough NCAA sanctions imposed in light of the Sandusky scandal.
O’Brien was an assistant coach with the New England Patriots from 2007 to 2012 before joining the Nittany Lions. O’Brien interviewed with both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cleveland Browns during the last off-season, and ESPN says he has made no secret of his desire to take the top spot of an NFL team.
When O’Brien returned to Penn State in 2012, it was with an agreement with the school that his buyout to join an NFL team be lowered from $19.33 million to $6.48 million, ESPN says, adding that there have been discussions to lower it further.
The university is preparing for a scenario in which O’Brien leaves, according to student newspaper The Daily Collegian. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the university’s athletic director has identified Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as O’Brien’s would-be replacement.
Rapoport Tweeted over the weekend that the Texans would make a decision by Tuesday.