His leave of absence comes after a hard 4-12 season for the Texans that brought rumors of a "toxic" relationship between Smith and coach Bill O'Brien. O'Brien staying could be a sign that the Texans are moving on from Smith, who has been with the organization for over a decade.
Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle cited many sources about the clash of egos between the two and the tension that has surrounded the squad because the two dislike each other that much.
O'Brien has one year remaining on the five-year deal he signed upon leaving Penn State to become a first-time National Football League head coach.
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Houston lost arguably its best player in J.J. Watt, as well rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who proved to be quite the playmaker before getting injured.
"I don't have any comment on that", O'Brien said Sunday. "We have a great relationship".
Watson tore his ACL at the beginning of November, effectively ending any chance the Texans had of reaching the playoffs. Sure there's going to be some issues arise when it comes to O'Brien's future in Houston and who he will now talk with as it relates to said future. The Sporting News' Alex Marvez reported on Sunday that O'Brien gave the Texans a "him or me", ultimatum. However, even if things had gone better, they would have been hard pressed to win the AFC South with the way the Jacksonville Jaguars played this season. The Texans won nine games in each of his first three seasons.