As the Texans attempt to mend the damage the team has inflicted on the relationship with quarterback Deshaun Watson, the full extent of the rift becomes even clearer.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Watson recommended not only Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for a head coach interview, but also former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. The Texans in the first week after the regular season ended asked not to interview either.
The Texans finally applied for permission to interview Bieniemy over the past week. However, since the interview did not take place during Kansas City’s week off, the Texans must now wait until the Chiefs’ season is over before speaking to Bieniemy.
The Texans never asked for permission to question Saleh. Saleh, who has been interviewed by all teams with a vacancy except the Texans, recently became the Jets’ new head coach.
Watson’s recommendations were made at the invitation of owner Cal McNair, who decided to involve Watson in the process. Watson suggested Bieniemy and Saleh after speaking to other players in the league and after consulting with Watson’s teammates in Houston.
From Watson’s perspective, it didn’t make sense not to interview these candidates, given that Zoom videoconferencing interviews are easily organized and executed.
It’s unclear whether hiring Bieniemy will eventually resolve Watson’s broader concerns about the organization, especially given the perception (or reality) that Texans asked to interview Bieniemy just to appease Watson. However, the failure to interview Saleh and initially seek permission to interview Bieniemy is viewed by Watson as a sign of disrespect, given that the property specifically included him in the process.