The Houston Texans abruptly fired Lovie Smith, ending his stint as head coach after one season, the team announced Sunday night.
During the season finale earlier in the day, the Texans, who entered with the worst record in the NFL, defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 32-31, effectively putting Houston out of contention for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft. They were 3-13-1.
After being the favorite and in a position to land the top pick all season, the Texans will now pick second behind the Chicago Bears, who finish with a 3-14 record.
Smith, who has also coached the Bears (2004-12) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15), leaves Houston after two seasons.
He was Houston’s defensive coordinator and associate head coach in 2021. He replaced David Culley, who was also fired after one season.
Davis Mills played in 15 games (3,118 yards, 17 touchdowns, 15 interceptions), after the team traded quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was drafted in the first round by the Texans in 2017, last March.
Watson did not play in 2021 amid a trade demand and more than two dozen allegations of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions.
The Texans won the AFC South four times in five years from 2015-19, reaching 10 and 11 wins, respectively, in 2018 and 2019, under a core that included defensive end, J.J. Watt, receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and Watson.
In 22 seasons, the franchise has never gotten past the divisional round of the playoffs.