Rick Smith is taking an extended leave of absence from his responsibilities as the Houston Texans’ general manager.
Smith released a statement on Sunday after the Texans’ 22-13 Week 17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. In the statement, Smith said that he is taking the extended leave of absence to tend to his wife who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In the statement, Smith said that it was difficult decision and that he is grateful for the support of Texans owner Bob McNair and his family, via Amy Palcic from the team’s PR staff.
Statement from Texans GM Rick Smith: pic.twitter.com/5fzvaYMD2G
— Amy Palcic (@amypalcic) December 31, 2017
This comes after recent reports of a growing rift between coach Bill O’Brien and Smith. The Sporting News’ Alex Marvez reported on Sunday that O’Brien gave the Texans a “him or me,” ultimatum.
It has been a season of struggle for the Texans in 2017. It started with Hurricane Harvey hitting the Houston area shortly before the start of the regular season.
They were able to play their season opener at NRG Stadium, and defensive end J.J. Watt started a heroic relief effort that raised over $30 million.
Then on the field things began to fall apart, and did not stop all year. Watt and defensive end Whitney Mercilus were lost to the season due to injury, and later rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson joined them on injured reserve after being the most exciting player in the league early in the season
The Texans just could not catch a break this season, but they have the pieces to their fortunes around quickly. However, the most important thing at the moment is the health of Smith’s wife.