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DeMeco Ryans returns to Texans in new role as head coach

Ryans, 38, was drafted by Houston in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played six seasons for the Texans before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

HOUSTON — The Houston Texans hired a familiar face to be their newest head coach.

Former Texans linebacker and last year's San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was officially made the franchise's sixth head coach on Wednesday.

Ryans, 38, just finished his sixth season as a Niners' staff member. The former Texans and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker was hired by San Francisco as a defensive quality control coach in 2017. He was eventually promoted to defensive coordinator in 2021.

“I’d like to first thank the San Francisco 49ers, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch for six incredible seasons where I grew as a coach and a man. I couldn’t be prouder of what we accomplished together, and I will always cherish the relationships I built there," Ryans said in a statement after the hiring was made public. "Being the head coach of the Houston Texans is my dream job and my family is thrilled to be back in H-Town. I have been around the game of football my entire life and I’ve always had a natural ability to lead others. I know what it takes to win and be successful in this league as both a player and coach. We’re going to build a program filled with players who have a special work ethic and relentless mindset. I understand the responsibility I have to this organization and to the fans of Houston to build a winner and I can’t wait to get to work.”

Drafted in 2006, Ryans spent six seasons with the Texans and started his Houston career by winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He made the Pro Bowl twice as a member of the Texans.

Ryans eventually got traded to the Eagles in 2012 for a fourth-round draft pick. He played four seasons in Philadelphia before he retired.

The Texans interviewed several other qualified candidates before settling on Ryans. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka of the New York Giants was one of the earlier candidates. Houston also brought in Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson for an interview before he withdrew.

READ: 'Captain, leader, smart, tough, personal' | JJ Watt tweets support for DeMeco Ryans after former LB interviews with Texans

Houston also managed to snag a high-profile interview with former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton. The Super Bowl winner had great things to say about the organization prior to completing an interview with the team.

"They've got really good draft capital," Peyton told Colin Cowherd on his show. "They're in a division that you can at least look at and say Indy, Jacksonville, Tennesse, that's nothing. I think there is growth potential immediately from their two or three wins."

With the hire, Ryans can now fill his staff as the team prepares for the 2023 NFL Draft. Houston has both the second and 12th pick in the first round with multiple holes to fill on both sides of the ball.

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Cal McNair statement

“We are thrilled to welcome DeMeco Ryans as the new head coach of the Houston Texans. For so many reasons, DeMeco is everything we are looking for in a leader and coach for our organization. He has a proven track record for developing high-quality players and constantly innovated his defensive scheme over the last six seasons in San Francisco. We started this process with the goal of finding someone our fans and city can be proud of and we’ve done just that. While we received a lot of incredible feedback and support for DeMeco from different people, it was our discussions with him and his vision for our football team that made him the right coach to lead us as we continue to evolve as an organization. Congratulations to DeMeco and his family and welcome back to H-Town.”

Nick Caserio statement

“On behalf of the entire Texans organization, I would like to welcome DeMeco Ryans and his family back to Houston. DeMeco is a proven coach with a track record of success who has an innate ability to lead people. He is progressive in his vision, a great communicator, a connector and somebody that values collaboration. We are working to build a sustainable program that has long-term success and DeMeco is the Coach we feel is the best fit to help us achieve our goals. We know how important it is to get results now and we have a lot of work to do, but I’m excited to partner with DeMeco to build our football team together.”

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