Penn State coach Bill O'Brien is the favorite to be the next coach of the Houston Texans, and the two sides are working out a contract, ESPN reported Saturday.
The Texans interviewed O'Brien after Christmas at his Cape Cod, Mass., home.
The Texans reportedly have a short list of candidates as a fallback if they are unable to work out a deal with O'Brien.
Before coaching the Nittany Lions, O'Brien was an assistant coach with the New England Patriots for six years, including as offensive coordinator when they lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
O'Brien, 44, went 7-5 in his second season as Penn State's coach. He was named Big Ten coach of the year in 2012. He is rebuilding the Nittany Lions since the school was hit with sanctions stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal.
O'Brien interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns head coaching jobs last offseason. Penn State made it easier for O'Brien to leave for the NFL by reducing the buyout teams would have to pay the school for hiring him from $19.33 million to $6.48 million. There have been recent talks of reducing the NFL buyout even further.
Houston fired Gary Kubiak as head coach earlier this month.
The Texans (2-13) will own either the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick in next year's draft.