Penn State Football

Penn State football: ESPN report says O’Brien deal with Texans ‘imminent’

Penn State football fans are still waiting to hear what Bill O’Brien will do with his future.

The Nittany Lions coach is being courted by the Houston Texans for their vacant head coaching job, and with five other teams firing coaches Sunday and Monday, he may be hearing from other NFL teams.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is citing sources who say the Texans and O’Brien may strike a deal by Tuesday, saying a deal was “imminent” during Monday afternoon’s airing of “NFL Live.”

Reports have Texans owner Bob McNair wanting negotiations with O’Brien wrapped up by Tuesday, and NFL Network is reporting San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, once considered a candidate, would not be interviewed by the Texans.

O’Brien is considered one of the top candidates for a head coaching job after his work with the Nittany Lions, posting a 15-9 record over the past two seasons despite being burdened by NCAA sanctions and scholarship reductions.

One of his top recruits for next season, defensive tackle Thomas Holley, of Brooklyn, N.Y., said he had a conversation with O’Brien on Saturday and had the impression the coach would be staying in State College.

“He just gave me an idea of what to look for next year and said possibly he’s returning but I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Holley told “It wasn’t a guarantee, but he said it’s possible but I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m kind of sitting back waiting to see what happens. If he does leave I’ll wait to get to that bridge and cross it then.”

Holley is one of three Nittany Lion recruits who will be playing in the Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field on Thursday. All of the recruits have only given oral commitments, and are not bound to stay with a school until the National Letter of Intent signing period in February.