Texans' Caserio on firing Culley, Tim Kelly: 'Philosophical differences'


The firing of coach David Culley after one season followed a 4-13 season and a review of the entire coaching staff that led to his dismissal along with offensive coordinator Tim Kelly.

The Texans and Culley, a career assistant who had never been a head coach previously, part ways with three remaining years on his contract. Culley confirmed that he's due the three remaining years on his deal. That's worth $17 million and he will earn a total of $22 million over the course of the deal, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

Culley, 66, didn't want to make changes to the coaching staff, which was a disconnect with how the Texans wanted to proceed, especially on the offensive side of the football with the NFL's last-ranked offense.

Game management issues and other alignment problems were at the heart of the decision from the Texans management to move on in a recommendation from general manager Nick Caserio to chairman and CEO Cal McNair.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans

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The Texans are expected to target coaches they have a strong background with with their top candidates being former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores and New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

“Earlier today, I met with David Culley and Tim Kelly to inform them we will be moving in a different direction at the head coach and offensive coordinator positions, I came to this difficult but necessary decision after reviewing our football operation," Caserio said in a statement. "While a change after one season is unusual, we had philosophical differences over the long-term direction and vision for our program moving forward. We appreciate coach Culley for helping us navigate through a difficult season, but it is my responsibility to make decisions that I feel are best for our organization. The search for the next coach of the Houston Texans will begin immediately.”

Culley was previously an assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens after stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs coaching receivers and the Buffalo Bills coaching quarterbacks.

"I enjoyed playing for coach Culley, I thought he got a raw deal," said Texans safety Justin Reid, who was disciplined by Culley and benched for one game after a disagreement with him and wide receiver Chris Conley during a team meeting. "He stepped into a difficult situation. He took the brunt of it and led the team to four wins when they didn't expect us to win any games. I feel bad for him. He's a stand-up guy who did things the right way and I think he did well in establishing the culture of the team. He had guys ready to play every Sunday and I wish him the best."

Culley was previously an assistant head coach, passing game coordinator and receivers coach for the Baltimore Ravens after stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs coaching receivers and the Buffalo Bills coaching quarterbacks.

“We are grateful for the energy and passion David brought to our organization throughout last season," McNair said. "We wish him, his wife Carolyn and their entire family nothing but the best moving forward. I have entrusted Nick Caserio to lead football performance and I have complete confidence he will find the best leader for our team. These decisions are difficult, but Nick believed it was necessary for the future of our organization. We look forward to continuing to build our roster and finding the right coach to lead us forward.”

Hours later, Culley said in a telephone interview that he accepts the situation and is ready to move forward with his head held high after leaving Houston.

"I'm disappointed, but it's part of the business," Culley said. "I understand and I move on."

Culley later issued a statement through the Texans' public relations department with a similar sentiment. Culley had nothing bad to say about the organization and his experience in Houston.

“I loved every minute of being the head coach of the Houston Texans," Culley said. "I appreciate the players and coaches for staying the course with me through the ups and downs of our season. I’m disappointed we didn’t win more games and I won’t have a chance to improve on the lessons I’ve learned, but I fully understand this is a bottom-line business and I didn’t do enough. I want to thank the McNair family and Nick Caserio for giving me this opportunity, I am forever grateful for the experience. I wish this team and organization the best, they are building a special program and I truly believe the future is bright for Texans fans.”

Texans safety Justin Reid expressed his respect for Culley. Reid was disciplined by Culley and benched for one game against the New York Jets after an argument with him and wide receiver Chris Conley during a team meeting. Months later, Reid said he feels strongly about Culley as a high-character leader.

"I enjoyed playing for coach Culley, I thought he got a raw deal," Reid said. "He stepped into a difficult situation with everything that was going on with the organization with Deshaun (Watson trade request, legal issues) and all of the roster changes.He took the brunt of it and led the team to four wins when they didn't expect us to win any games. 

"I feel bad for him. He's a stand-up, genuine guy who did things the right way and I think he did well in establishing the culture of the team. He had guys ready to playhard every Sunday and I wish him the best.Coach Culley is someone I have the utmost respect for. He's a good man who tried his best and he had the players' back."


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