HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Texans announced contract extensions Thursday for general manager Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak, rewarding them for taking the team to the playoffs last year for the first time.
Texans owner Bob McNair wanted to maintain continuity with both men in the final years of their current contracts. Smith’s extension is for four years, which will keep him with the team through 2016. Kubiak’s is a three-year agreement which re-does the last year of his current deal and keeps him under contract through 2014.
“Stability is very important and these people work well together and they are committed to bringing a championship to Houston,” McNair said. “That’s our goal and what we work for every day. I’m real pleased we were able to bring this about.”
McNair wanted to extend the contracts after the team finished 10-6 to win its first AFC South title.
He was impressed that Kubiak was able to lead the franchise to the postseason and its first playoff victory despite playing significant time without a number of key players. Outside linebacker Mario Williams and receiver Andre Johnson missed large chunks of the season, and Houston had to rely on rookie third-string quarterback T.J. Yates after starter Matt Schaub and backup Matt Leinart were lost to injuries.
The Texans beat Cincinnati 31-10 in the first-round of the playoffs before a 20-13 loss to the Ravens ended their historic season.
Kubiak and Smith were both hired in 2006 after the team finished a franchise-worst 2-14. Smith spent 10 years with Kubiak while the coach was offensive coordinator of the Broncos. Smith was Denver’s defensive assistant for four seasons before moving into the front office for his last six years with the Broncos.
The pair has led the transformation of this team, which began play in 2002, from league laughingstock to contender. But the process hasn’t been without challenges.
The team went 6-10 in their first year and 8-8 in each of the next two seasons. Expectations were high in 2010 after Houston finished at 9-7 for its first winning record in 2009. But the Texans instead fell to 6-10, which led to many fans calling for Kubiak’s firing.
“If you coach in this league, especially as a head coach, you’re going to go through tough times,” Kubiak said. “It’s hard to win in this business (but) Bob stayed the course with our program through a very tough time two years ago … and we were rewarded.”