Former 49ers DC Ryans lands ‘dream job' as Texans' new coach


DeMeco Ryans' time in the Bay has come to an end

The former 49ers defensive coordinator is headed back to Houston to become the sixth head coach in Texans franchise history. 

"I'd like to first thank the San Francisco 49ers, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch for six incredible seasons where I grew as a coach and a man," Ryans said in a statement released by the Texans on Tuesday. "I couldn't be prouder of what we accomplished together, and I will always cherish the relationships I built there."

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the news Tuesday, citing sources. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter also reported, citing sources, that the agreement is on a six-year contract. The deal speaks volumes to the trust and confidence in Ryans, given that the club has fired its head coach in three consecutive years: Bill O'Brien (2020), David Culley (2021) and Lovie Smith (2022). 

After Ryans' 49ers job came to a heartbreaking end Sunday following a 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, the 38-year-old arrived back in the Bay and wasted no time. 

Ryans, who was drafted by the Texans in 2006 and spent six NFL seasons with them, met with the team on Monday for the second time. He has been their top candidate all along, and a sweet homecoming is on the horizon. 

"Being the head coach of the Houston Texans is my dream job and my family is thrilled to be back in H-Town," Ryans said. "I have been around the game of football my entire life and I've always had a natural ability to lead others. I know what it takes to win and be successful in this league as both a player and coach.

"We're going to build a program filled with players who have a special work ethic and relentless mindset. I understand the responsibility I have to this organization and to the fans of Houston to build a winner and I can't wait to get to work."

Ryans arrived in the Bay Area on coach Kyle Shanahan's staff in 2017 and worked his way up to defensive coordinator, a position he held for the last two seasons.

While his departure was expected, it didn't make it any easier for 49ers players, especially those that have worked closely with him over the years. 

Star linebacker Fred Warner came to an emotional realization after the NFC title game loss on Sunday, and that was when it hit him.

"I hadn't thought about it up until this point because, obviously, you think you're going to win it all," Warner told reporters postgame. "But seeing [Ryans] was emotional, it was. It was the first time it kind of hit me, right, that this was the last one with him, and we came into this thing together.

"I owe everything to him. He's the reason I'm the player I am today. He's fully deserving to go on and be a head coach. It hit hard today, for sure."

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Under Ryans' direction, the 49ers ranked as the No. 1 defense in the NFL this season in yards and points allowed. They came just one win shy of Super Bowl LVII. 

Ryans' passion for the game, which was on full display from the sideline each game, surely will be missed. And while his time in the Bay has come to a bittersweet ending, his impact on the team will remain. 

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