Texans GM Rick Smith taking 'extended leave of absence'

The Texans were a must-see with Deshaun Watson as their quarterback

According Alex Marvez of Sporting News, O'Brien was planning to meet with owner Bob McNair and offer an ultimatum-either Smith gets the boot or O'Brien leaves.

With reports that one or both were in danger of getting fired, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said one possible solution was for Smith to take a position within the franchise out of football operations and ceding more roster control to O'Brien. O'Brien is now 31-33 in his four seasons in Houston. He signed a four-year extension through the 2020 National Football League draft with the Texans last year.

However, McNair may feel inclined to choose between O'Brien and Smith if the team owner believes the longstanding issues between the two can not be resolved.

This means Bill O'Brien will return for his fifth year as coach.

Q2 Weather: Snow and very cold with risky travel
As sunrise on Saturday nears, a bit of light snow may develop across the area, especially for points west of the Lehigh Valley. Another push of bitterly cold air will move into Wisconsin Friday night and linger through New Year's Day Monday .

Brian Gaine, who was sacked by Smith after last season and was hired in Buffalo's personnel department, will be a leading candidate if McNair hires outside the organization.

O'Brien may be trying to force the issue with McNair knowing he could be in demand as a head coach elsewhere considering the sizable number of upcoming vacancies expected.

There has been speculation about O'Brien's future in Houston after the Texans struggled to a 4-12 season.

Smith has served as Houston's general manager since 2006 and oversaw all personnel decisions. They have been to the playoffs four times and won three postseason games.

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