– The Texans fired David Culley on Thursday, a move that came four days after Houston wrapped a 4-13 campaign in his first season as head coach.

“I came to this difficult but necessary decision after reviewing our football operation,” Texans general manager Nick Caserio said in a statement released by the team. “While a change after one season is unusual, we had philosophical differences over the long-term direction and vision for our program moving forward. We appreciate Coach Culley for helping us navigate through a difficult season, but it is my responsibility to make decisions that I feel are best for our organization.”

Culley told Houston media outlets SportsTalk 790 and KRIV-TV that he had three years left on his contract and that his salary is guaranteed.

“I loved every minute of being the head coach of the Houston Texans. I appreciate the players and coaches for staying the course with me through the ups and downs of our season,” Culley said in a statement released by the team. “I’m disappointed we didn’t win more games and I won’t have a chance to improve on the lessons I’ve learned, but I fully understand this is a bottom-line business and I didn’t do enough.”

The firing comes one year after the Texans hired Culley, a longtime assistant who became the oldest first-time NFL head coach at age 65. Culley, hired in January 2021 by Texans chair and CEO Cal McNair and Caserio, was the lone Black head coach hired last offseason and was one of three Black coaches in the NFL this past season. His firing leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ Mike Tomlin as the NFL’s only current Black head coach (the Dolphins fired Brian Flores earlier this week).

New England Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo is expected to emerge as a leading candidate for the Texans’ head-coaching job, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“We are grateful for the energy and passion David brought to our organization throughout last season,” Texans chair and CEO Cal McNair said in a statement released by the team. “I have entrusted Nick Caserio to lead football performance and I have complete confidence he will find the best leader for our team. These decisions are difficult, but Nick believed it was necessary for the future of our organization.”

Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly also was fired Thursday.