The Houston Texans are reportedly "in talks" with associate head coach and defensive coordinator Lovie Smith about potentially becoming their next head coach, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Field Yates.
Smith has always been considered for the job, but his "candidacy as head coach has gained steam in recent days," Schefter added.
The news comes after Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported that Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon had been told that he will not be named the Texans' next head coach.
Gannon, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores and former NFL quarterback Josh McCown were reported finalists for the Texans head coaching position. However, ESPN's Sarah Barshop reported Sunday that McCown is now out of the race.
The news about McCown shouldn't come as a surprise. He has no professional coaching experience, and the other candidates are far more qualified.
Barshop also reported that if Smith gets the job, passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton is expected to be Houston's offensive coordinator. Hamilton last held an offensive coordinator role for the Indianapolis Colts from 2013 to '15.
Smith, 63, joined the Texans for the 2021 season after serving as head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini from 2016 to '20. However, his NFL coaching experience began in 1996, when he took over as the linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers until 2000.
Smith then served as defensive coordinator for the then-St. Louis Rams from 2001 to '03. He served as head coach of the Chicago Bears from 2004 to '12 and the Buccaneers from 2014 to '15.
In 11 seasons as an NFL head coach, Smith went 89-87. His most successful campaigns came during his tenure with the Bears, as he led the franchise to the postseason three times, including an NFC championship during the 2006 season.
The Texans are searching for a new head coach after firing David Culley last month. Culley, 66, led Houston to a 4-13 record in 2021 despite having one of the worst rosters in the NFL. It was his only season with the franchise.
Houston is one of two NFL teams remaining without a head coach, joining the New Orleans Saints.
The New York Giants (Brian Daboll), Minnesota Vikings (Kevin O'Connell), Miami Dolphins (Mike McDaniel), Denver Broncos (Nathaniel Hackett), Chicago Bears (Matt Eberflus), Las Vegas Raiders (Josh McDaniels) and Jacksonville Jaguars (Doug Pederson) have all hired new head coaches this offseason.