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Casserly resigns as GM of Texans

He's chasing NFL front office post

HOUSTON -- Texans general manager Charley Casserly shook hands with owner Bob McNair after resigning yesterday.

The two said there was no firing and no ugly divorce at the top of the 6-year-old franchise after a 2-14 season, a coaching change, and a controversial No. 1 draft pick.

Casserly said he's leaving on his own terms to chase a job in the NFL's front office.

''I have an interest in doing other things right now," he said. ''This was not an easy decision, but it was a decision I felt I had to make at this point in time."

Speculation had swirled for months that Casserly would follow coach Dom Capers and be fired in the aftermath of the 2005 season. His future seemed even more tenuous after the team used the No. 1 overall pick to draft defensive end Mario Williams -- and pass up Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and University of Texas star Vince Young.

Many fans were outraged, but McNair said Casserly was never going to be fired. Their friendly handshake at a news conference yesterday seemed to indicate the two are parting on good terms.

Casserly will officially step down June 1.

''We have gone through a lot of ups and downs and have had a lot of pleasurable moments together," McNair said. ''We made an awful lot of progress. We had some disappointments last year, but I think we both feel we've got the cart back on the path and it's moving in the right direction."

Casserly had been with the Texans since the franchise joined the NFL six years ago. The Texans played their first season in 2002.

''I've been in this league 29 years," Casserly said. ''I spent a lot of time talking about this with my family. We came to the same conclusion -- the time was right to move on."

Casserly met with McNair yesterday morning, then spoke with the Texans' coaching staff and contacted Houston's scouts.

He plans to send a letter to the league office today, officially applying to become the NFL's director of football operations.

''I've enjoyed my time here in Houston, I've enjoyed the relationships, especially with the staff," Casserly said. ''I think anybody who comes in wanting to make any changes will be making a huge mistake."

McNair said he had no replacement candidates in mind.

''I have talked to no one. I have no list," McNair said.

Casserly, 57, had one year left on his contract. When last season ended, Casserly asked McNair if they could delay talk about Casserly's future until after the draft and McNair agreed.

Casserly helped McNair hire Gary Kubiak as Capers's replacement. Kubiak was disappointed to see Casserly go.

''I have grown very fond of him," Kubiak said. ''We had a lot of work to do to try to get this thing headed in the right direction. We've had a good four months together. I wish it would be longer, but I understand the business."

Casserly joined the Texans in 2000, after 23 years with the Washington Redskins. He started with the Redskins as an unpaid intern under Hall of Fame coach George Allen and was hired as a scout the next season.

The Redskins elevated Casserly to assistant general manager in 1982, the year the franchise won its first Super Bowl. Casserly became Washington's GM in 1989.

Casserly's first big move in Houston came in 2002, when the Texans drafted David Carr. He has signed off on every draft pick the Texans have ever made and defended Williams's selection again yesterday.

''Our record is what our record is," Casserly said. ''But I think this ballclub will make a dramatic jump this year in caliber of play. Eventually, the wins will come. With the offseason we had, I feel really good about it."

Kubiak said the Texans now face a pivotal decision in finding Casserly's successor.

''This is a huge hire for our organization," he said. ''There's a lot of good things going on. The key thing is we have to do our homework and make sure they keep heading in that direction.

''This person has to be a great fit for what's happening right now with the Houston Texans."

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