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Report: Texans are in talks with Lovie Smith to become head coach

Mike Florio and Chris Simms talk through the Texans' decision between Brian Flores and Josh McCown for head coach and explain why they feel there's something fishy going on with Houston.

He wasn’t a finalist, but he could end up being the last man standing.

According to ESPN, the Texans are talking to assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Lovie Smith about becoming the team’s next head coach.

It’s a stunning development. Recent leaks to multiple reporters had narrowed the field to Brian Flores, Jonathan Gannon, and Josh McCown. With the list of potential candidates recently trimmed to Flores and McCown, Smith may have become the compromise candidate.

The Texans can’t hire McCown, especially after the filing of the Flores lawsuit. (Well, technically they can. But they shouldn’t.) The Texans apparently don’t want to hire Flores, who has sued the league and three teams. Also, his lawsuit specifically points out the manner in which the team mistreated former coach David Culley.

Enter Smith, the former Bears, Buccaneers, and Illinois coach. He took Chicago to the Super Bowl in 2006, generating a 92-90 record in the NFL (which isn’t bad) and a 17-39 record at Illinois (which is).

Smith’s name surfaced this week in connection with Flores’s allegation of deliberate tanking in Miami. Smith coached the Bucs in 2014, when they clearly folded the tents and took the L in Week 17, in an effort to nail down the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Smith’s reward was to be fired after the 2015 season, when the Bucs apparently feared losing offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Smith may ultimately get a different reward -- his third crack at being an NFL head coach.