Late last year, the Houston Texans paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a high-falutin,’nationally respected search firm to help them find their next general manager.
The Korn Ferry company did deep background checks and proposed two names as the most qualified candidates: Pittsburgh Steelers executive Omar Khan and ESPN football analyst Louis Riddick.
On Friday, Janury 8, the Texans called a major press conference to announce their new hire as general manager: Nick Caserio.
Huh? What happened? Why would the Texans pay all that money to a headhunter — and then ignore its advice?
Here’s what reportedly happened: Jack Easterby, roundly called the “butt-smooching, back-stabbing executive” by fans — and personal Svengali to Texans CEO and Chairman Cal McNair — got involved.
According to reports from ESPN, ProFootball Weekly, and other national media, Easterby convinced McNair to hire Caserio. You remember Easterby, the focus of a long, vicious profile in Sports Illustrated that painted him as a sneaky, conniving, not always truthful office snoop.
McNair confirmed, “I sought out Jack’s feedback on Nick.” Caserio added, “Jack and I have a really special relationship.” Easterby and Caserio formerly worked together with the New England Patriots.
McNair’s announcement of the Caserio hire reportedly infuriated Deshaun Watson, the Texans’ divinely talented quarterback. Watson claims that McNair promised that he’d be involved in the general manager decision.
Watson wasn’t. He learned about the Caserio hire on social media. Watson also has urged the Texans to hire Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy as their new head coach.
So far, the Texans have failed to invite Bienemy for an interview. The Texans are the only team with a head coaching vacancy to snub Bienemy for at least an interview.
The franchise quarterback reportedly feels betrayed by the Texans’ hiring practices and failure to be more active on social issues. ESPN said reports of Watson’s unhappiness with Texans’ management are true. According to ESPN sources, Watson would accept a trade to the Miami Dolphins. Hypothetically, the deal would have the Texans receiving Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and a bunch of draft selections.
That’s the Texans’ style, exiling an All-Pro and getting far less in return.
For those keeping score: Houston now has a football team with its best player wanting out, a basketball team with its best player wanting out, and a baseball team with one of its best players accepting offers from other teams.