For DeMeco Ryans, there was simply no place like home.
In his introductory press conference Thursday, a smiling, effervescent Ryans was clear that, despite strong interest from the Denver Broncos, the Houston Texans were his clear choice of where he wanted to become a first-time head coach.
“I’m thankful for the Denver Broncos and we had great interviews there. Great people there,” Ryans said. “But when it came down to it, there is no place I wanted to be any more than H-town. It was an easy pick for me, it was a no-brainer to be here. To be home, it was a no-brainer. So it wasn’t a difficult decision at all. Very easy.”
The former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator was named Houston’s third head coach in three seasons on Tuesday, returning to the city where he was an All-Pro linebacker and one of the most popular defenders in franchise history.
A fast riser who helped build the 49ers defense into the NFL’s best over two seasons as their defensive coordinator, Ryans comes to the Texans with a vision for how to build the moribund franchise into a contender.
“We’re on the cusp, we have to add some pieces to what we’re doing here,” he said. “But I’m so excited to get started and get to work with you young guys, and to build a winning program here with the Texans. I’m fired up, the excitement is real, and I can’t wait to get to work to get to coaching. We want to bring a winner, a winning team, that’s what we want to bring to Houston. We want to bring you guys a team you’re gonna be proud of as fans.”
General manager Nick Caserio said Ryans’ interview was what set him apart from all the other candidates.
“It was one of the more impressive interviews, interactions that I’ve been around,” Caserio said. “And the thing about it is, it’s genuine. DeMeco is who he is; he’s sincere, he’s real. By the end of the call, we kind of had some parting words like, ‘Do you have anything else you want to leave with us?’ And he said basically, ‘I want to come home, this is my dream job, let’s make it happen.’ I think it behooves us to kind of take that information and say, ‘Alright, let’s figure out a way.'”
Ryans inherits one of the oldest rosters in the NFL for a team that is in the early stages of a rebuild. He does have assets to work with this offseason, including the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft as well as Cleveland’s first-rounder (No. 12 overall) and an extra third-round selection. They are expected to target one of the top quarterback prospects in the class early in the draft, possibly as soon as that pick at second overall.