(SportsRadio 610) -- This is the act of a desperate man. A man backed into a corner.
This is the act of a man standing on a sinking ship, as the Good Ship O’Brien takes on water, sharks circle and an inevitable fate draws closer.
Bill O’Brien’s last grasp is a tattered life preserver named Earl Thomas.
And Texans fans flustered and fed up with the Texans’ head coach should be glad for this rare moment of clarity, not bothered by it.
At least now we all know. O’Brien and his feel-the-spirit sidekick Jack Easterby no longer are giving us steaming piles of clichés and blessings. They’re telling us loud and clear: They’ll try anything.
The BOB tenure has reached the point where, in an attempt to stay afloat and plug holes of a flawed roster, they’re leaping off moral high ground and into unpredictable waters.
Thomas is more than a troubled soul. He’s an aging and unstable once-great player, who is none of the things O’Brien and Easterby always mention as key to building a winning team.
Thomas is not a good teammate. Not smart. Not dependable. Not a good guy. Not loyal. Not remorseful.
He will, however, apparently soon be a Texan.
While Thomas’ career on the field has had superb moments, he’s been available to any team willing to bring him in for a reason. His game has diminished and his troubles on the field and off have multiplied.
Two coaches likely to end up in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame – Pete Caroll and John Harbaugh – finally had enough and moved on.
O’Brien, who is coaching his 100th NFL game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, has won nothing close to what Carroll and Harbaugh have. Yet he brought Thomas in for a workout Monday afternoon and Thomas’ signing reportedly is imminent.
Among Thomas’ recent transgressions are an ugly scene when he shot the finger at Carroll while being carted off the field, reneging on a deal to sign with the Chiefs to instead sign with the Ravens and multiple incidents with the Ravens that ended with players asking management to cut him.
Thomas also missed at least one team flight, several practices and punched a teammate over a missed assignment.
Then last April, Thomas and his wife, Nina, were involved in an incident that involved police. Nina Thomas ultimately was charged with intent to commit aggravated assault, after she and Thomas reportedly fought, then she found Thomas in a rental home, in bed with his brother and another woman.
But Houston likely will be where Thomas ends up playing, because this is where the Texans are.
They’re overmatched and undermanned – because O’Brien and Easterby have mismanaged the roster and talent evaluation. Safety A.J. Moore, who was ineffective, was placed on injured reserve Monday.
Safety Eric Murray, who the Texans signed for a three-year, $20 million contract last off-season, has been a bust.
They’re desperate for any kind of jolt to take this 0-3 team out of the doldrums and relieve ever-growing heat on O’Brien, whose record through 99 games is one of the worst in NFL history for a coach leading one team that long.
Make no mistake, on the field if Thomas is anything close to his seven-time Pro Bowl self it will be an upgrade for the Texans. He could well be that jolt they need.
But this is more about O’Brien compromising his often talked-about standards.
Trustworthy? Good teammate? Thomas has proved to be none of that.
With this move, O’Brien and Easterby are acknowledging their own shortcomings and mistakes. They’re letting Texans fans know that they, too, know these are pivotal times.
They are showing us all that as much as owner Cal McNair has trusted them, even that trust may be dwindling.
They’re grasping. They’re flailing. They’re trying anything they can to keep Texans ownership from finally recognizing the mess this roster has become and letting go of the guys who put it all together.
They’re putting their trust in Earl Thomas. The Good Ship O’Brien isn’t so good anymore.