The Houston Texans have hired Baltimore Ravens assistant David Culley to be their next head coach, sources told ESPN, confirming a report by the Houston Chronicle.
Culley, 65, who has spent the past two seasons in Baltimore, just completed his 27th season as an NFL coach. Along with serving as the team’s assistant head coach, Culley was Baltimore’s passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach. The Ravens finished the 2020 season ranked last in the NFL in passing.
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“David is just a genuine guy,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said in a text to ESPN’s Ed Werder. “He will be who he is everyday. Has been that guy every day of his career. I’m thrilled for him. Great person. Genuine. Full of energy.”
Harbaugh had previously called the Texans’ opening a “great opportunity” and said he believed Culley “would be a tremendous hire for any team, maybe, especially, the Texans with Deshaun Watson.”
The Ravens will receive two third-round compensatory picks (one in 2021 and another in 2022) for Culley getting hired from their staff. This comes from a resolution adopted in November that is meant to incentivize NFL teams to develop and hire minority candidates for head-coaching and general manager positions.
Culley will join Robert Saleh of the New York Jets, Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ron Rivera of the Washington Football Team as active minority head coaches in the league.
Culley has never been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level. He was also an assistant head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013 to ’16, and spent the 2017 and ’18 seasons as the Buffalo Bills’ quarterbacks coach. When the Ravens hired Culley in 2019, Harbaugh said the coach was highly respected “as a teacher, game-planner and motivator.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid told Werder that Culley is a “great person” and “very loyal.” He added that Culley “will bring positive energy to the building.”
When the Texans fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien in October, Houston became the first team with an opening for either position. The Texans hired Nick Caserio as their new general manager earlier this month and gave him the reins to their head-coaching search.
Along with Culley, Houston interviewed Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell, Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and current Texans quarterback Josh McCown after Caserio took over. The Texans also interviewed Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley before he was hired by the Los Angeles Chargers.
Amid the Texans’ coaching search, sources told ESPN that Watson was not happy with the process the organization used to hire Caserio. And sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that regardless of whom the Texans hired as their next head coach, Watson’s desire to be traded was not expected to change.
The Texans are coming off a 4-12 season, one in which Watson played the best football of his NFL career. The fourth-year quarterback set career highs in touchdowns, passing yards and completion percentage. He also threw a career-low seven interceptions.