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In a surprising move, the Houston Texans fired general manager Brian Gaine on Friday just days before the team is scheduled to report for its mandatory minicamp.
“After a thorough evaluation of our football operations, we have decided to relieve Brian Gaine of his duties as general manager,” Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair said in a statement issued by the franchise. “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 certainly unconventional, as Gaine just oversaw the team’s free agency and draft strategy after the 2018 season. In the first round of the draft, Gaine and the Texans selected Alabama State offensive tackle Tytus Howard with the No. 23 overall pick and also used their third-round selection on another offensive tackle, Max Scharping from Northern Illinois.
Offensive line has been a recurring issue for the Texans with star quarterback Deshaun Watson constantly was under duress. Last year, Houston ranked dead last in sacks allowed, giving up 62. The team previously ranked 31st in the category with 54 in 2017, the season before Gaine took over.
The Texans won the AFC South with an 11-5 record and was the third seed in the AFC playoffs, but lost to division-rival Indianapolis Colts in the wild card round, 21-7.
Houston had also been active in free agency, signing safety Tashaun Gipson, cornerback Bradley Roby, and backup quarterback AJ McCarron after it chose to let safety Tyrann Mathieu and cornerback Kareem Jackson walk.
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The move by the Texans creates two open general manager positions in the NFL, with the New York Jets also searching for one after they fired Mike Maccagnan May 15.
Houston hired Gaine in January 2018 when its former general manager, Rick Smith, announced through the team that he would be taking a leave of absence to support and assist his wife as she underwent cancer treatments.
The Texans are set to begin their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday.