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Armando Salguero: David Culley Did Not Get A Raw Deal From Texans, He Got Blessed

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The Houston Texans have fired coach David Culley after one season, and what you’ll soon hear is that the veteran NFL assistant and first-time head coach deserved better because he got only one year with a subpar roster.

So let’s all feel bad for Culley.

Honestly, I wish I was Culley.

The Texans plucked him from the Baltimore Ravens staff, where he was the wide receiver and pass game coordinator. They gave him a contract with only four years of guarantees rather than the going rate of five other coaches got. He was making around $4-5 million per year.

Culley accepted this deal knowing what the Houston roster was about to look like, understanding he was taking on a full and difficult rebuild, but also realizing this was an opportunity of a lifetime.

Because if he made it work with the Texans, against very long odds, he’d be recognized as one of the top head coaches in the NFL.

But Culley’s Texans finished 4-13, and so they and the coach are going in different directions now.

Culley departs with $4-$5 million earned this season and another $16-$17 million due in 2022-25.

The Texans are expected to be interested in former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores and other current New England Patriots coaches.

Two questions:

Which one of you reading this amazing story wouldn’t agree to that deal Culley got for $20-$22 million, even knowing you’d probably be fired after one year?

And which one of you reading this amazing story ever heard of David Culley before this year?

Culley has been a fine NFL assistant since 1994. He’s had coaching stops in Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Buffalo and Baltimore before landing the Houston job.

He was never going to get an NFL head coaching gig unless it came with warts and problems and zero guarantees, like the Houston job did.

So, at age 65, Culley grabbed a chance of a lifetime — even if it was a longshot chance.

The Houston Chronicle, citing sources familiar with the situation, reported that after the Texans spent four days evaluating the personnel side of the organization, general manager Nick Caserio and senior executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby recommended Culley be fired.

And chairman and CEO Cal McNair signed off on it.

There’s going to be a national narrative that Culley deserved better. Media will say he got a raw deal.

He actually got the deal he signed up for. As for what he deserved, forget that.

He got many millions of dollars out of this one year of work. He’s still respected in NFL circles, and he can find an assistant job if he wants one because he’s got a good reputation.

Also, there are worse things than escaping the Houston Texans situation.

David Culley is blessed.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

10 Comments

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  1. Agreed that they did this guy a solid (huge golden parachute and he leaves that shithole franchise behind). Leading that team to 4 wins is quite the accomplishment so I’m guessing he is in line for an OC role if he chooses not to retire.

  2. He wasn’t Lombardi, but I thought the guy had a really bad team playing HARD every time I saw them after their bye week. They were trending in the right direction. That alone is hard to do in the NFL when you’ve got a dud roster like they have. That said, if they fired him to hire Brian Flores, fresh off his own firing, I’m not sure there’s much rational thinking going through the minds of that organization. That hire would be a step further backwards in my opinion.

  3. Lil Cal McNair isn’t even 1/2 the man his father was. Cal took one season to decimate the team. It wasn’t long after he took control that he pissed J.J. Watt to the point that he wanted out. The Texans couldn’t trade him for some reason, so just let him go for nothing.

    The year before that, Bill O’Brien traded Hopkins to Arizona, where Watt went, for a 2nd round pick, a journeyman linebacker and a one legged running back. That Hopkins is the best receiver of his generation matters squat.

    Since they have to pay $16 to $18 million over the next three years will be a reason used by the team to NOT pay a new head coach and assistant coaches.

    This franchise is a s#1t show. There were thousands of season ticket holders that gave them up before this season.

    Oh, and lets not forget that the franchise never took a single step toward disciplining Watson after the 23 women accused him of sexually inappropriate actions against them. The team never played him, yet paid him $10+ million for this season.

    MLB and the LA Dodgers kicked Trevor Bauer to the curb very quickly after he was accused by a single woman of inappropriate behavior. It probably cost the Dodgers a trip to the World Series.

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