HOUSTON — Former interim general manager Jack Easterby no longer works for the Houston Texans, effective immediately, according to multiple league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
Hired in 2019 as executive vice president of team development, the former New England Patriots character coach had been promoted to executive vice president of football operations since his arrival in Houston.
Why Did the Texans Fire Jack Easterby?
“It was just time,” a source said. “No knock on Jack at all. He did a lot of really good things in implementing a lot of the programs they have in place, but the organization has reached a point where it has a lot of great people to work on these programs behind the scenes to help the players and help the coaches. This isn’t like a huge controversy. These things happen in the NFL. Jack will have a lot of great opportunities going forward.”
The groundwork for this decision was made several months ago as the organization shifted its direction, according to sources.
Among the things that fell under Easterby’s responsibilities; team development, which is supervised by Dylan Thompson, football technology, analytics, sports science, oversight of the football operations budget, and the development of all football operations system curriculum.
One of Easterby’s major initiatives was sports science involving the rest, recovery, and training of the players to achieve optimal performance. He was heavily involved in analytics.
He had shifted to more of an administrative behind-the-scenes role that didn’t involve him making personnel decisions. Easterby has also worked on restructuring contracts in recent years and negotiating to manage the salary cap.
Easterby was a proponent of interviewing and considering former NFL quarterback Josh McCown for the head coaching position that went to Lovie Smith in a promotion from defensive coordinator after McCown received heavy consideration despite only having coached at the high school level. Hiring McCown was regarded as an extremely controversial idea that was ultimately rejected by CEO and chairman Cal McNair.
Easterby, who has a close relationship with general manager Nick Caserio from their shared time with the New England Patriots, worked closely with former coach and general manager Bill O’Brien.
That management partnership was a part of some lopsided trades and contracts, including the Laremy Tunsil and DeAndre Hopkins trades and other deals, including Whitney Mercilus’ $54 million deal.
Following an 0-4 start in 2020, Easterby became general manager on an interim basis. Easterby didn’t execute a lot of major moves the remainder of that season as he exercised a cautious approach and avoided lopsided trades, including a low-ball offer from the Green Bay Packers for wide receiver Will Fuller.
Legacy Includes Helping Recruit Nick Caserio
After the season, Easterby, a South Carolina native who was a team captain of the basketball and golf teams at Newberry College, helped guide the search for a new head coach and general manager and sold Caserio on the vision for the organization.
Easterby helped negotiate Caserio’s $6 million annual contract. Ultimately, the Texans hired Caserio, and he worked with Easterby for the past two years before the organization moved on Monday following a bye.
The Texans are off to a 1-3-1 start but have a strong rookie class that includes cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., safety Jalen Pitre, and running back Dameon Pierce.
“Helping to bring Nick to Houston, that’s going to be Jack’s greatest legacy, I think,” a source said. “He pushed hard and sold hard to help make that happen, and they got that hire right. Nick has been excellent.”
Easterby was a former team chaplain and character coach with the Kansas City Chiefs and also worked for the University of South Carolina. He is the founder of the Greatest Champion Foundation, an educational nonprofit organization,