DeMeco Ryans' return to Houston as head coach a 'no-brainer'

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Thursday, February 2, 2023
Full video: DeMeco Ryans 'comes home' as Texans head coach
The Houston Texans officially introduced an old face to a new role - former star linebacker DeMeco Ryans as the new head coach of the team.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- DeMeco Ryans is officially back where it all began, and on Thursday, the city heard from Ryans and Houston Texans leadership for the first time since his hiring.

Ryans, 38, was formally introduced at 3:59 p.m. -- the "59" a nod to his old Texans' jersey number.

Ryans' former teammates were also there.

Former Texans players have been vocal about Ryans being the right fit to become the franchise's sixth full-time coach.

Among the most prominent in that campaign is J.J. Watt.

"You want to reenergize and reignite the incredible Houston fan base, this is a hell of a start!! Cannot wait to see what Meco does. One of the best teammates & leaders I've ever been around," Watt wrote on Tuesday, when the news broke that Ryans would take over.

The lobbying started days before that, though, when Watt shared a personal story about how he "bought my first house across the street from DeMeco because if Meco thought it was the right place to live, it was the right place to live for me. Captain, leader, smart, tough, personable, crushed it as DC...He will be a great head coach."

The Texans interviewed Ryans on Jan. 20, when he was still the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator.

Ryans spent the last six seasons coaching for the 49ers.

He'd just wrapped up his second year as the Niners defensive coordinator before accepting the head coaching gig back here in Houston. Ryans became a hot commodity on the head coaching market after leading the Niners to the No. 1-ranked defense in the league.

Ryans reportedly signed a six-year deal, but one question that has emerged, unlike head coaches before him David Culley and Lovie Smith, will he get longer than a year to turn things around?

Former Texans teammate Glover Quin seems to think Ryans will get a fair shake.

"I think he's gonna be given more than a year. I think those other two coaches I don't know if they had a connection here. I don't know if they connected well with the players being older guys. Houston is a young, vibrant team and I don't know if they had that connection," Quin told Eyewitness News at 8 a.m.

Ryans will have his work cut out for him, including finding an answer at quarterback. The Texans have two first-round draft picks at No. 2 and No. 12 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. The team could also address the issue through trade or free agency.

Ryans' hiring ended a three-week long coaching search since the Texans fired Smith on Jan. 8.

Ryans' Texans history

Ryans, who was a star for Alabama, was drafted by the Texans 33rd overall in 2006, which was the same year Houston selected defensive end Mario Williams with the first overall pick.

Ryans outplayed Williams to become the unexpected star of the team in his rookie year, picking up an All-Pro selection and the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

He went on to play six seasons in Houston, later picking up two Pro Bowl selections and also helping future superstar J.J. Watt acclimate to the pro game after he was drafted in 2011.

Ryans rounded out his 10-season NFL career by spending his final four pro seasons in Philadelphia.

ESPN contributed to this report.

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