The Houston Texans sent shock waves across the NFL Friday when they fired their general manager, Brian Gaine.
“After a thorough evaluation of our football operations, we have decided to relieve Brian Gaine of his duties as general manager,” Texans CEO Cal McNair said in a statement. “Brian is a man of high character and we appreciate his contributions to our organization. We will begin an immediate search for a new GM. In the interim, Football Operations will be led by Senior Vice President of Football Administration Chris Olsen. While the timing may be unusual, this decision was made in the best interest of our organization in our quest to build a championship team for the City of Houston.”
The timing is unusual indeed — and even reminiscent of when the Chiefs opted to fire their GM back in June of 2017. Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson reported that a handful of football operations staffers in the building weren’t even aware that the move was being made until mere moments before. Then Robinson mentioned the Chiefs.
On #Texans firing Brian Gaine, remember Gettleman getting fired by #Panthers partially due to extensions not getting done. Not only did Gaine make zero progress extending Clowney, he shopped him to the #Chiefs in April. Overall, this pivotal offseason in Houston was pretty quiet.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) June 7, 2019
After the Chiefs traded Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers and released Justin Houston, they were suddenly in need of an edge rusher. I always felt the Texans trading Clowney to the Chiefs — one of their most significant roadblocks to winning the AFC — would be an obvious mistake.
But Gaine attempted to anyway.
Per a source, I’m told Houston reached out to KC about Clowney prior to the Frank Clark trade, but the Chiefs were locked in on Clark - their No. 1 guy. https://t.co/Mpr2QNxLLd— Terez A. Paylor (@TerezPaylor) April 25, 2019
The Chiefs wanted Frank Clark instead.
“Our plan was to try to get Frank Clark,” general manager Brett Veach said during his introductory press conference. “I told the guys, ‘Look, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to get him. If Seattle doesn’t tag him he’s going to cost a lot of money. Right? If they do tag him, we’re going to have to have some equity to get him.’ This was our plan all along. This was a guy we targeted, and you guys know I’m rather persistent.”
Also suddenly apparent seems the fact that Gaine lost a bidding war with the Chiefs for safety Tyrann Mathieu, who you can already tell may be the Kansas City’s most important addition heading into 2019.
Texans head coach Bill O’ Brien said the Texans would “love” to retain Mathieu back in February and sounded at least somewhat woeful that they lost him to the Chiefs.
“Tyrann did a good job for us,” he said, via the Houston Chronicle, at the NFL coaches breakfast in March. “He practiced every day and was a good guy in the locker room. We tried to do the best we could to keep him. He had a great opportunity with the Chiefs, and we wish him the best. He’s a great guy, an awesome competitor and a good leader. You have to turn the page and move on.”
Hardly anyone at the time realized that “turning the page” would mean ultimately firing their general manager.