- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2006

Read between the lines and it seems Texans general manager Charley Casserly will be out of Houston after the next month’s draft.

“I have a contract and I’m doing my job as we proceed in free agency and prepare for the draft,” Casserly said.

Casserly’s job seemed to be in jeopardy in December when Texans owner Bob McNair hired former NFL coach Dan Reeves as a consultant to help repair a team that collapsed from 7-9 in 2004 to 2-14 last season.

Casserly survived Reeves’ review, unlike coach Dom Capers. However, McNair and Casserly couldn’t agree on an extension of his contract, which expires in June 2007.

If Casserly leaves the Texans, he likely would replace new Oakland Raiders coach Art Shell as the NFL’s senior vice president of football operations and development.

Casserly says he has not talked to anyone on Park Avenue about the position, but that was the scuttlebutt at this week’s league meetings. The job could be a way station for the 57-year-old Casserly until another GM position opens.

“I haven’t heard anything from anyone in the league office, but that doesn’t mean there’s not something to it,” McNair told the Houston Chronicle. “We’re scheduled to sit down after the draft and evaluate everything. When we do that, we’ll see where everything’s headed.”

McNair made Casserly, the longtime GM of the Redskins, his first football-related hire after being awarded the expansion franchise in October 1999. The Texans are 18-46 in their four seasons.

Brotherly love

Colts coach Tony Dungy said All-Pro quarterback Peyton Manning is pumped up for the season-opener against the New York Giants, who are quarterbacked by his younger brother, Eli.

“What Peyton said publicly is …, ‘I’ve never played against him before and it’s going to be very exciting,’ ” Dungy said. “What he was thinking was, ‘I’m not going to lose to my brother on national television. Whatever my regimen was, it just cranked up 5 percent because I’m not going to lose.’

Advice to Mangini

Browns coach Romeo Crennel has advice for the 35-year-old rookie coach of the New York Jets, Eric Mangini.

“There’s no handbook for being a head coach,” said Crennel, who was Mangini’s boss with the Patriots. “Everybody looks to the head coach for knowing the answer or wanting the answer. What do you want to do about this? How do you want to handle this? A lot of those things you haven’t had to handle before.

“You may have thought about them, but now they want an answer right now. You shouldn’t force any answers. If you have to think about it, tell people you’ll get back to them. So you can make a good decision and not have to go back and change it and say, ‘I [messed] that up.’ ”

Favorites, what favorites?

Steelers coach Bill Cowher said his Super Bowl champions should see themselves as the team that was the last to qualify for the AFC playoffs, not as the kings of the NFL.

“I don’t think we’ll take ourselves too serious,” Cowher said. “I’m not so sure we were the best team in the NFL last year. I think we were playing our best football at the right time. I think our guys understand that. When you realize what you accomplished and you’re part of history and you have an opportunity to do it back-to-back, it would be an unbelievable feat. But I think our guys kind of want to separate themselves.

“We have a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice and a big commitment we’ll have to make to get it done, but I think we’re all relishing that opportunity. And until we get knocked out of the playoffs next year or we don’t make the playoffs, we’re the defending champs.”

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