Jack Easterby was the Houston Texans' executive vice president of football operations in February, less than a year after ending his six-year stint with the Patriots.
But Easterby apparently believed he could have stayed in New England much longer.
Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop published a lengthy feature on Easterby Thursday that details his rise to power in New England and Houston and includes several eye-opening anecdotes -- like this one:
"Easterby told people that (Robert) Kraft, New England’s owner, had offered him and (Nick) Caserio, the longtime personnel czar, “lifetime” contracts to run personnel. But Easterby intimated that he had turned down that offer, lest it look like he was going behind (Bill) Belichick’s back. (The Patriots, through a team spokesperson, say such a contract was never offered.)"
It's hard to imagine Kraft and the Patriots offering anyone (outside Belichick) a "lifetime contract," much less Easterby, who joined the Patriots in 2013 as a character coach and team chaplain.
Easterby had risen quickly through New England's ranks, however, and was a member of Belichick's "inner circle" prior to leaving the team, per Vrentas and Bishop.
Caserio, meanwhile, has been with the Patriots since 2001 despite garnering interest from several other teams -- including the Texans, who pursued him for their general manager opening in the summer of 2019 before New England filed (and later dropped) tampering charges.
Did Kraft try to convince Caserio to stay put by offering him and Easterby tenure in the personnel department? That's apparently what Easterby believes, although that narrative feels like revisionist history after his departure to Houston.
Easterby has become a fascinating and controversial figure amid a rocky start to his Texans tenure that has already included the firing of head coach Bill O'Brien. And if you're wondering what makes Easterby such a lightning rod, Vrentas and Bishop's story will offer plenty of examples.