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A question emerges about Jack Easterby’s NFL biography

After a poor 0-4 start to the 2020 NFL season, the Texans have parted ways with coach and GM Bill O'Brien.

Texans executive V.P. of football operations Jack Easterby has had a meteoric rise via an unconventional path to the position he now holds. And now that he has won an apparent power struggle with coach/G.M. Bill O’Brien, Easterby will be facing more scrutiny than ever.

The scrutiny actually began in the offseason, after the Texans promoted Easterby to his current position. Others in the league who have achieved high-level jobs in more traditional ways began to scrutinize Easterby’s background, and to ask tough questions.

In March 2020, an executive with a team other than the Texans pointed out that Easterby’s online bio contends that he served as “assistant to the director of football operations” in Jacksonville in 2004, his first NFL job. We explored at the time the question of whether Easterby actually served in that capacity in Jacksonville. Ultimately, we decided that although questions definitely existed the available evidence, 16 years later, wasn’t sufficiently clear to justify pursuing the matter.

Today, we took a fresh look at Easterby’s bio. And we noticed that something had changed.

The claim that he served as “assistant to the director of football operations” has been removed. In its place, the online bio says that “Easterby gained his first NFL experience in the summer of 2004 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, helping in football operations and public relations.”

We asked the Texans when and why the change was made. Here’s what the Texans said: “Meaningless oversight in a bio from an entry-level position in Jacksonville 16 years ago. This had no bearing on our decision to hire him. . . . His employment paperwork was accurate with the correct description of his internship.”

So when was the change made? The Texans claim that it happened last year. And that’s simply factually incorrect. In March 2020, Easterby’s online bio claimed that he served as “assistant to the director of football operations” in Jacksonville. At some point since March (i.e., since we began asking questions about the situation to others who have worked with and hired Easterby), it changed.

Does any of this matter? In 2001, George O’Leary left the head-coaching job at Notre Dame after irregularities emerged in his playing history and educational background. In 2006, the Vikings dumped personnel director Fran Foley for allegedly exaggerating his job titles at the Citadel, Rutgers, and Colgate. (Foley claimed he was a coach when he actually had been a graduate assistant.)

But those things happened years before the advent of post-truth America. Today, will anyone care? Will anything happen? That’s for the Texans to decide. Regardless, the Texans at some point since March 2020 (even though they contend it happened last year) changed Easterby’s online bio to make his experience with the Jaguars seem far less significant than previously claimed.

And it’s important to note that we asked why the change was made, and that the statement from the Texans does not address that question.

Our guess is this: Easterby caught wind of the fact that someone had noticed the irregularity, and that it was then changed. Which operates as an admission that the prior bio was irregular, and ultimately incorrect.

Again, it’s for the Texans to decide what to do with this. The fact that the Texans already have revised the bio suggests that they indeed accept the explanation for the inaccuracy.