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Lovie Smith “absolutely” expects to return for 2023

Mike Florio provides an update on the latest news surrounding possible NFL coaching changes coming out of Week 18, including Sean Payton and Jim Harbaugh.

Texans coach Lovie Smith finished his first season as head coach of the team with a 3-13-1 record, losing the No. 1 overall pick with a 32-31 win over the Colts. Even when the Texans win, they lose.

Reports this week have indicated Smith’s job is not safe.

Smith said that’s news to him.

“A couple things, and that’s all I’m going to say about that,” Smith said, via a transcript from the team. “First off, there are reports. I don’t know what the reports are. . . Do I expect to be back? Yeah, I expect to be back. Absolutely.”

Smith acknowledged a meeting with owner Cal McNair on Monday but said it was nothing out of the ordinary. An NFL Media report said Smith was stating his case for keeping his job during the meeting.

“Yeah, I meet with Cal every Monday. I met with him this past Monday,” Smith said. “As far as [what it was about], we talk about what’s happening the last game. We understand the totality of the season on what’s going on.”

In a follow-up question about his job security, Smith repeated that he expects to return.

The Texans fired Bill O’Brien during a 4-12 season in 2020. They fired David Culley after a 4-13 season a year ago. At some point, it’s not about the head coach.

If the Texans decide to move on, they could look to San Francisco where one of the best players in their history, DeMeco Ryans, is the 49ers defensive coordinator.