Shorty after the Houston Texans’ 2017 season ended Sunday, general manager Rick Smith announced that he’ll begin 2018 by taking an extended leave of absence from the team due to his wife’s recent breast cancer diagnosis.
Smith said that he intends to return to the team in some capacity, but will leave it up to team owner Bob McNair to decide what his role will be:
Smith “I’m going to maintain executive VP title. I intend on coming back. If Mr. McNair hires a general manager, that’s up to him.”
Hopefully McDaniel’s wife is fine, and he is too.
Nobody, not even Kamara, could have predicted how successful the match of team and player would be. Not this quickly. Saints coach Sean Payton was one of the first in the league to use the “Joker” position, a multidimensional back who can line up all over the field and create mismatches—Reggie Bush first, Darren Sproles later. After Kamara displayed nonpareil athleticism at the NFL combine (he posted the best numbers of all running backs in both the broad jump and vertical jump), and then impressed with his route-running abilities during a private workout with New Orleans, Payton vowed to confidants that he had to have the back on his team. He was the next in line.
Kamara has since proven to be the ideal fit for that role and the Saints offense, a hybrid player with size and speed and endless versatility, a precise route-runner, hard to tackle, unfathomably efficient. A running back who can seamlessly slot out to play receiver, a receiver who can line up in the backfield and run between the tackles, a threat to score every time he touches the ball, including kick returns.
It hasn’t been a secret for a while now, but Sean McDonough made everything crystal clear when he bid Jon Gruden farewell prior to the Titans-Chiefs game on Saturday afternoon.
Keke Prewitt, the unofficial minister of a group of friends that includes Fitzpatrick and Tide punter JK Scott, laughs now as he considers the 18-year-old who sat silently in the pew three years ago, mouth drawn, unsure whether people approaching him wanted a conversation or just a photo. After enough new friends told him, “You’re actually really nice,” he began to wonder: Was he intimidating? He began trying to talk to at least one stranger a day to get himself out of his shell. He was confused a few weeks ago when a TV reporter asked him how he wanted to be remembered as a football player. “As a good man,” he answered. One night he was grabbing dinner at a restaurant when a man asked if he could sit down. Fitzpatrick stopped himself before he could say no and spent the evening hearing what he had meant to the man, who was suffering from terminal cancer.