There may not be an organization in sports that is a bigger mess than the Houston Texans.
Despite landing star QB Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL Draft and signing him to a long-term extension this summer, almost nothing else has gone right in Houston over the past couple years. Most recently, multiple reports have said Watson is highly frustrated with the team’s direction and may request a trade in the offseason.
Now, former Texans players are coming out of the woodwork to take shots at the organization, their owner Cal McNair and their VP of football operations Jack Easterby. Tuesday, it was former wide receiver Andre Johnson:
“If I’m @deshaunwatson I will stand my ground,” Johnson tweeted. “The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can’t seem to see what’s going on. Pathetic!!!”
Then, former RB Arian Foster chimed in to defend Johnson. “I don’t keep up with much in the league so idk who buddy is. but i kno (sic) my brother. and for him to get this outta pocket means there’s gotta be f–kery lol. dre is the calmest cat on the planet.”
McNair reportedly had promised to give Watson a say in the hiring process as they searched for a new GM and head coach, but the QB was not consulted when they hired former Patriots executive Nick Caserio to lead their front office.
ESPN reported that the Texans also paid search firm Korn Ferry to find the best candidate, but despite the firm suggesting Steelers cap wizard Omar Khan, the Texans pivoted to Caserio at the last minute – allegedly at the suggestion of Easterby, who has gained significant power and influence within the organization.
A recent feature in Sports Illustrated compared the Texans’ situation to “Game of Thrones,” casting Easterby as the influential and power-hungry Littlefinger.
Watson has reportedly been upset with the team’s lack of commitment to social justice. Both Khan and Louis Riddick, Korn Ferry’s top GM candidate suggestions, were minority candidates, while Caserio is white. Watson was also upset that the Texans originally were the only team not to interview Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy for their head coaching vacancy.
Houston finally agreed to interview Bienemy, but missed their chance to do so before the anti-tampering window closes, as the Chiefs are still in the playoffs. Now they must wait until the Chiefs are out of the playoffs, which could be until the Super Bowl. By then, they may have already hired someone else.
Johnson had served as an advisor for the Texans as they searched for new leadership, but based on his tweets, it seems his advice wasn’t taken under too much consideration.