Could the Houston Texans coax Sean Payton back into coaching?

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Lovie Smith is a likable coach and the players love playing for him. However, the reality is the Houston Texans must keep their eyes open for any potential coaching candidates.

Smith, 64, doesn’t figure to be a staple on the Texans’ sideline, not even comparable to Bill O’Brien, who was with Houston from 2014 to four games into the 2020 campaign. If Smith stayed that long, the Big Sandy, Texas, product would be 71 years old.

The former 2005 NFL Coach of the Year probably won’t bomb like David Culley in 2021 and necessitate a dismissal after one season, but it is fair to say Smith is year-to-year in Houston.

There is one former Super Bowl-winning coach the Texans should target should Smith fade into retirement in the near future.

According to Jarrett Bell from USA TODAY, former New Orleans Saints coach and NFL on FOX studio analyst Sean Payton still has a hankering to get back on an NFL sideline.

“Ultimately, do I think I’ll get back in? Sure,” Payton said. “There’s no way to predict who that club might be. Usually, there are about six openings every year. If there’s a right fit somewhere, that ultimately will depend on several factors.”

One team that will undoubtedly command Payton’s attention is the Dallas Cowboys. Not only does Payton have a longstanding friendship with owner Jerry Jones, but Payton has a house in Southlake, a suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

If general manager Nick Caserio could demonstrate to Payton that the team had all the pieces needed to contend, but just needed steady direction from a proven coach, the AFC South club might be appealing.

For now, Payton is focused on FOX.

“I’m really excited about FOX and working with the crew,” said. “It’s going to be a great experience. I’m looking forward to being on the other side.”