HOUSTON — Two people familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday night that Penn State’s Bill O’Brien had reached an agreement to coach the Houston Texans.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hadn’t been made.
Less than two years after replacing Joe Paterno as coach of the Nittany Lions, O’Brien will return to the NFL. He was an offensive assistant with the New England Patriots from 2007-12.
O’Brien went 15-9 at Penn State, hit hard by NCAA sanctions levied for the Jerry Sandusky scandal that cost the late Paterno his job.
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O’Brien will become the third coach in Texans history, following Dom Capers, who led the team from its expansion season in 2002, and Gary Kubiak.
Kubiak took over after Capers was fired following Houston’s 2-14 season in 2005. Kubiak went 61-64 and led Houston to its first two playoff appearances and two AFC South titles before being fired in early December in his eighth season.
Vikings planning deep coach search
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings are conducting their first head coach search in eight years, and this will be an exhaustive project.
That’s the way general manager Rick Spielman works.
“I’ve sliced every way you can slice it,” Spielman said on Monday, after Leslie Frazier was fired.
Spielman has an old scout inside fueling his meticulous style of player evaluation and draft preparation, and he has dived into his pursuit of Frazier’s replacement the same way.
This will be Spielman’s first head coach hire. The Vikings fired Brad Childress in 2010 and replaced him with Frazier, who was already on the staff. That was before Spielman, hired in 2006 as vice president of player personnel, was promoted to general manager.
The Vikings have at least five other teams competing for the candidates. Houston, Cleveland, Washington, Tampa Bay and Detroit also have vacancies. Top assistants on the top teams typically crowd the field, and this year is no different. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn have emerged as potential targets along with many others. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked on Monday about his coordinators as candidates for some of the open jobs.
“It just depends on what you’re looking for, but both of these guys are fantastic football coaches and they’ve been highly successful, and they’re leading really good units, and they can make all of the decisions and the choices and all of the stuff that you have to make,” Carroll said. “Neither one of them have been head coaches before and there is still a curve there for them, but they’re as qualified as anybody could possibly be.”
• The mother of former Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the team after exhuming his body so that his brain could be examined. The lawsuit, filed by Cheryl Shepherd in Jackson County circuit court Tuesday, alleges that Belcher was subjected to “repetitive head trauma” and that the Chiefs failed to provide adequate medical care before he killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide last December.
• The Jacksonville Jaguars plan to let veteran running back Maurice Jones-Drew test free agency, general manager Dave Caldwell said.