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December 28, 2013

Column: Key side missing from latest reports

News started spreading Saturday afternoon that the Houston Texans and Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien were "working to get a deal in place within the next week" for O'Brien to become their next coach, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter.

Both Schefter and Mortensen have long track records of solid journalism, and no doubt, sources within the NFL are telling them that the Texans are heavily pursuing O'Brien.

This may be true, but the one thing that stands out about the reports that surfaced on Saturday afternoon is that all of the information is coming from the NFL side of things.

O'Brien, as I've stated repeatedly since reports first surfaced more than two weeks ago linking O'Brien to potential NFL head coaching vacancies, does not participate in this song and dance as it relates to the media. His camp is dead silent at the moment and through the course of this thing and, though every piece of evidence exists to suggest that O'Brien is intent on becoming an NFL head coach at some point in the future, the reality at present is that there is scant evidence to confirm that time is necessarily right now.

Certainly, there is a very real possibility that O'Brien and the Texans could work out a deal, but there are more factors at work here than simply whether or not the Texans are pursuing O'Brien.

For instance, whether or not the Texans are in negotiations with any other coaches. Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is available and has been reportedly a "top candidate" as well, according to a variety of media outlets. And, in fact, in an excellent piece by NBC Sports' Mike Florio, there's even reason to question the Texans' intent with these leaks.

Does that mean that at some point in the near future a report won't confirm that O'Brien has an actual offer and is now negotiating the terms of a deal? Of course not.

But in terms of O'Brien's side of this, history suggests that it's telling that there's still nothing coming out of O'Brien's camp. By the time he was able to secure what he wanted from Penn State after "talks" with the Eagles one year ago, O'Brien put an end to the news story by releasing his intent to the media. Whether or not that happens again this year - staying or going - remains to be seen, but there's every reason to believe O'Brien's camp will remain silent until this thing comes to a resolution.

Blue White Illustrated will continue to cover this breaking news story as it develops - if and when it develops.



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