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Sunday, December 8, 2013
Texans candidate watch: Mike Shanahan

By Tania Ganguli

In 1996, three days after Texans general manager Rick Smith signed a contract to become an assistant coach at TCU, the Denver Broncos offered him a job.

Having just signed that contract, Smith said no. This piqued the curiosity of then-Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. So Shanahan had someone call Smith again a few weeks later to ask why he turned down the Broncos. That time he wanted to know what it would take to hire Smith.

And that's how Smith entered the NFL.

It was under Shanahan that Smith learned what it meant to work and win in the NFL. The Broncos won two Super Bowls while Smith was an assistant defensive backs coach. A few years in, he asked Shanahan to help him move into personnel, and the coach did that in 2000.

Why do I bring this up now?

According to's Dan Graziano, Mike Shanahan nearly quit after the 2012 season, disillusioned by the link between Robert Griffin III and Washington owner Dan Snyder. For one reason or another, Shanahan could be without a job at the end of this season. (See today's game.)

He fits the mold of someone with head coaching and NFL experience that the Texans want. Texans owner Bob McNair, who is taking a very hands-on approach to this search, values someone with championship experience, which Shanahan has.

So let's take a look at what kind of candidate he would make for this job, should he become available: