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Sports

April 19, 2014

St. John's grad O'Brien talks about life as head coach

(Continued)

Q: Have you spoken with Bill Belichick much after leaving for Penn State and then getting the job with Houston?

A: “Yes, I have. We will always be friends. Bill appreciates hard work and keeping your mouth shut. He appreciates intelligence other than football. He also taught me the best relationships up front and honest. It will be a little different as a head coach (competing against the Patriots), but my respect for him and our friendship will never change.”

Q: How ironic was it that you not only coached against your mentor, University of Central Florida coach George O’Leary last fall at Penn State (UCF won, 34-31), but that his quarterback, Blake Bortles, is being talked about as potentially the first pick of the draft, which is the Houston Texans pick?

A: “Amazing, isn’t it? That was a great game and a tough one to lose. We were talking about at Bortles’ pro day, about how we’ve come full circle in some respects. George is a good friend. I loved coaching for him. I lean on him for advice. Sure, we’ve discussed players and his quarterback has got some great years ahead of him. Bortles is going to play pro football.”

Q: You’ve said the Texans will be drafting a quarterback, but it doesn’t necessarily mean with the first pick. Where you stand with the first overall pick less than a month before the NFL Draft?

A: “I appreciate the question; everybody is asking it. We haven’t decided yet. It’s a long process. We’re still, obviously, determining our own roster and we haven’t been big players in free agency for a various reasons. One thing I’ve learned is you draft what’s best available. You don’t draft for need. We are still studying guys, doing interviews and bringing guys to Houston. We do know it’s a deep draft. There are over 100 underclassmen available, which is a record I believe. Rick Smith and myself have a lot work to do, but we will make the right decision for the Houston Texans.”

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