Houston Texans’ Dumpster Fire Gains Fuel as Longtime Team President Jamey Rootes Resigns

Rootes was hired in 2000 — two years before the Texans played their first game

Houston Dumpster Fire Gains Fuel as Longtime Texans Team President Jamey Rootes Resigns
Jamey Rootes, formerly of the Houston Texans, on the field in 2019.
Tim Warner/Getty Images

A tumultuous offseason that seems destined to end with Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson being traded to another organization just got worse.

Longtime team president Jamey Rootes — who was hired by team founder Bob McNair in 2000 two years before the Texans played their first game — announced his resignation on Wednesday, effective immediately.

“The past two decades have been an amazing blessing for me and my family and I have the [McNair family] to thank for that,” Rootes said in a statement. “It has been an honor to serve them in this capacity for as long as I have.”

The 54-year-old, who was “responsible for all business functions of the club,” was not happy with the direction executive VP of football operations Jack Easterby is taking the organization, sources told ESPN. Rootes was also upset his input on filling the team’s once-vacant general manager position was not valued or counted, a gripe that Watson reportedly sympathizes with as well.

While the resignation of Rootes may not have a huge impact on the football side of things, it does impact the franchise he aided in selling out for every home game from 2002 through 2019 (before COVID-19 forced limited ticket sales last season). The abdication of the highest-ranking member of the business side of the organization will create even more instability in a clearly shaky setup.

The situation in Houston was somewhat unavoidable. It started with the deserved firing of head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien in October, but it has deteriorated since, with Easterby incrementally gaining more power within each subsequent dismissal. Under Easterby’s rule (and the blessing of Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair), the team hired general manager Nick Caserio and head coach David Culley this offseason, neither of whom were Watson’s preferred candidates. A former team chaplain turned “character coach” in New England who left the Patriots following team owner Robert Kraft’s massage-parlor scandal, Easterby has reportedly endeared himself to McNair thanks to his devout Christian faith, which has aided his rise up the ranks in Houston.

Though he didn’t officially fire Rootes, O’Brien or ex-general manager Brian Gaine or trade ex-Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkin in one of the most-lopsided deals in recent memory, Easterby’s fingerprints have been all over what is happening in H-Town. And if Watson does end up getting dealt, it appears it’ll be Easterby’s hand holding the pen that ultimately signs off on the deal.

“If Rootes had a fatal flaw, it was that he was too optimistic about a team that still hasn’t won a divisional-round playoff game,” Brian Smith writes in The Houston Chronicle. “In February 2021, Gaine is gone, Hopkins is gone, O’Brien is gone, and Watson badly wants out. The McNairs’ trusted right-hand man has now followed all the old names out the same door. While you keep tweeting #FireEasterby, McNair keeps listening to and being swayed by the untrusted Texan who must be named. Easterby.”

At least he’s funny, though?

He’s not, but it will be a joke if the Texans lose Watson in another lopsided trade.

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