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Report: Bill O’Brien an “overwhelming favorite” for Texans job

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01: Bill O’Brien of the New England Patriots looks on from the sideline in the second half against the Buffalo Bills on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Penn State coach Bill O’Brien appears to be the leading candidate to be the next head coach of the Houston Texans.

Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN report that O’Brien and the Texans are intensifying their talks with the hopes that they can come to an agreement to make O’Brien the next head coach in Houston. The report describes O’Brien as an “overwhelming favorite” to land the job.

Although O’Brien has reportedly told Penn State players and recruits that he’s sticking around, he has also reportedly tried to get Penn State to reduce the buyout that his contract requires an NFL owner to pay to pry him away. There would be no reason to do that if O’Brien weren’t interested in leaving for an NFL job.

The 44-year-old O’Brien has been Penn State’s coach for the last two years. Before that he was an assistant in New England for five years.

Houston fired Gary Kubiak during the season, which gave them a head start on finding a new head coach, and the Texans have already interviewed former Bears coach Lovie Smith, which means they have complied with the Rooney Rule. They can hire O’Brien as soon as they can come to a deal, and from the sound of this report, a deal could be coming soon.