Ever since a CBS Sports report linked him to Maryland this Sunday, Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien has been under a bit of a microscope.
After the Texans beat Cincinnati on Monday Night Football, a reporter asked O'Brien about Maryland. He responded:
Bill O'Brien on reported interest in Maryland job 'I'm damn proud to be the coach of the Houston Texans'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 17, 2015
That's not a denial, Bill!
On Tuesday, the topic came up again – although we're not sure if Maryland was specifically mentioned this time.
Bill O'Brien on being linked to coaching jobs: 'Rumors are rumors.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 17, 2015
That's not a denial, either. It's not really even close to being a denial.
It's worth adding here that there are serious reporters who think there's no shot:
Bill O'Brien has no interest in the Maryland job despite a report to the contrary.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) November 15, 2015
I've been pretty skeptical about the O'Brien-to-Maryland notion for a while. At one point, I likened his chances of taking Maryland's open job to those of my 1-year-old dog. My rationale was that O'Brien, who came back to the NFL via Penn State and the New England Patriots, would be taking a de-facto demotion by joining the Terrapins. And it's not at all a guarantee he'll lose his job in Houston or leave it voluntarily.
I'll still be surprised if it happens. But where there's smoke, there's sometimes fire.
The Texans are 4-5 and don't have a quarterback, and O'Brien hasn't exactly tried to put out the flames.