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David Culley out after one season as Texans head coach

David Culley, who was fired after one season as head coach of the Houston Texans, waves to fans after a 41-29 victory over the LA Chargers on Dec. 26.Bob Levey/Getty

The Houston Texans fired coach David Culley after just one season, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the move hadn’t been announced.

His firing comes days after Houston closed out a 4-13 season with a 28-25 loss to Tennessee.

Culley said Monday he expected to return, but general manager Nick Caserio was said to still be evaluating him at that time before the decision came Thursday to move on.

The 66-year-old Culley was hired last January to replace Bill O’Brien after spending 43 years as a college and NFL assistant. He took over a team that went 4-12 in the 2020 season with Deshaun Watson at quarterback.

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Watson requested a trade around the time Culley was hired, and before 22 women filed lawsuits against the QB alleging sexual harassment or assault. The issues kept Watson out all season and precipitated a rebuild in Houston that left Culley at the helm of one of the NFL’s worst teams.

The Texans also fired offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. He had been with the Texans in various roles since 2014 and had been the offensive coordinator since 2019.

This is the first time the Texans have fired a coach after just one season. The team’s first coach, Dom Capers, spent four seasons in Houston before being fired. Gary Kubiak was hired next, and he was let go in his eighth season. The team parted ways with O’Brien after he opened his seventh season 0-4.

Culley was hired after spending 2019-2020 as assistant head coach, wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Before coming to Houston, Culley had worked as an NFL assistant starting in 1994, also spending time with Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Kansas City and Buffalo. He began his career as a college assistant and spent 1991-93 at Texas A&M.

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David Culley was the head coach of the Texans for one season.Justin Rex/Associated Press

His firing leaves the NFL with just one Black head coach in Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin after Miami’s Brian Flores also was let go this week.

The Texans played better late in the season, with two of their four wins coming in the last month of the season, highlighted by a 41-29 victory over a Los Angeles Chargers team still in playoff contention.

The late improvement wasn’t enough to save Culley’s job, and the Texans face a big offseason where they’ll have to find a new coach, will look to finally trade Watson and will have the third overall pick in the draft after not having a first-round pick in the last two drafts.

Vikings to discuss GM vacancy with woman

The NFL has moved a step closer to having a team hire a woman as its general manager. The Minnesota Vikings have requested permission to interview Catherine Raiche, the vice president of football operations for the Philadelphia Eagles, for their vacant GM job, according to a person familiar with the situation.

It is believed to be the first such formal request for a woman to interview for a general manager position with an NFL team.

Samantha Rapoport, the NFL’s senior director of diversity, equity and inclusion, wrote on Twitter that the Vikings’ request to interview Raiche is “big news” and added that Raiche “will be an NFL GM, it’s just a matter of where.”

The Eagles declined to comment through a spokesman and Raiche was not available. The Vikings did not respond to a request for comment. They are searching for a replacement for Rick Spielman. He was fired, along with head coach Mike Zimmer, following a season in which the Vikings missed the playoffs with a record of 8-9.

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The NFL, as part of its diversity efforts, has encouraged teams to interview large and diverse slates of candidates.

Teams are required to interview at least two minority candidates from outside the organization for each general manager vacancy. There is no interviewing requirement tied specifically to female candidates.

Raiche is in her third season with the Eagles. She was promoted to her current role after joining the team in 2019 as its football operations and player personnel coordinator. She formerly was an assistant GM for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Raiche is among several women who were on this year’s version of the list of minority general manager candidates sent to NFL teams by the league. Other women on that list include Dawn Aponte, the NFL’s chief football administrative officer; and Jacqueline Davidson, the director of football research for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Other women who have been mentioned as eventual GM candidates include Kelly Kleine, the executive director of football operations for the Denver Broncos, and Melanie Marohl, the Green Bay Packers’ director of football administration and player finance.

Super Bowl to remain in Inglewood, Calif.

With the Super Bowl just one month away, preparations are in full swing for the return of the NFL’s premier event to the place where it all started. And both NFL officials and local organizers say the championship game isn’t leaving the Los Angeles area. The NFL has no plans to move the Super Bowl to Arlington, Texas, or anywhere else despite the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the accompanying health precautions in California, several officials confirmed at SoFi Stadium during a media event held to mark one month before the 56th edition of the Super Bowl on Feb. 13. “All of our plans for Super Bowl week remain fully in place for a month from today,” said Katie Keenan, the NFL’s senior director of event operations. “We’re working along with everyone here, with the LA County Health Department, to make sure all of our events are being held safely.”. . . The Dallas Cowboys have agreed on a contract extension for vice president of player personnel Will McClay, 55, who has played a significant role in a series of solid drafts over nearly a decade. McClay has often drawn interest from other teams seeking general managers, but has preferred to stay with the Dallas front office. Owner Jerry Jones also carries the GM title, with son Stephen Jones the second in command as executive vice president of personnel.

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