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Bill O’Brien lays rumors to rest, says he will be the Texans’ coach again in 2017

Despite reports that the coach was butting heads with the general manager, Bill O’Brien assured reporters he’ll return in 2017.

NFL: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Bill O’Brien assured reporters that he intends to return as head coach of the Houston Texans in 2017, laying to rest rumors of unrest between the team and its coach.

"I'll be back next season. I’ll be the Texans’ head coach," O’Brien told reporters after the loss. “I'm looking forward to working with this offseason to try to improve the team. I really enjoy coaching this team. I have a lot of great feelings about the guys I coach in that locker room.

"I'm just tired of answering it. You can't even have a sense of humor about it."

Despite winning the division two years in a row, recent reports suggested that not all was well in Houston. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported last week that the Texans could part ways with O’Brien if they lose their first playoff game, while Lance Zierlein of Sports Talk 790 said that O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith have been butting heads.

Despite the reported problems, O’Brien led the Texans to a victory over the Oakland Raiders in the first round of the playoffs before a 34-16 loss to the heavily favored Patriots.

O’Brien has had nothing but winning seasons in his three years on the Houston sideline, but topped out each January at 9-7. He’s now 1-2 in the playoffs, bottoming out last winter in an embarrassing 30-0 home loss to the Chiefs. The Texans have been able to rise above a weak AFC South, but they haven’t been considered a true postseason threat.

O’Brien’s biggest flaw thus far in Houston has been the struggle to groom a franchise quarterback. The Texans started luminaries like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer, T.J. Yates, and Brandon Weeden in his first two years with the club. The franchise signed Brock Osweiler away from Denver with a four-year, $72 million contract to fix that problem last summer, but it didn’t get its money worth in the deal in 2016.

Osweiler was one of the NFL’s worst passers this fall. He posted a 72.2 rating before being replaced by backup Tom Savage in Week 16. Savage looked like the team’s best option in a comeback win over the Jaguars in relief, but he suffered a concussion seven days later to throw the team’s offense back into flux.

In a win over the Raiders, Osweiler did enough to keep the Texans offense moving, but he threw three interceptions against the Patriots and the Houston offense failed to find a single offensive play of 20 yards or more.

O’Brien’s frustrations with the team’s management may be tied to the lack of talent he’s had to work with at the quarterback position.

The 47-year-old originally rose to prominence with the Patriots, where he replaced Josh McDaniels as the team’s offensive play caller and eventually became offensive coordinator in 2011. That led to a head coaching gig at Penn State, where he led the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record over two seasons despite a litany of NCAA sanctions.

O’Brien has never had a losing season as a head coach but hasn’t had much postseason success either. However, he’s been handicapped in each of his two major jobs, whether by scholarship reductions and postseason bans or subreplacement-level quarterbacks.

That isn’t stopping him from giving it another go with the Texans, though.