Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien says there is no rift between him and general manager Rick Smith following the decision to release quarterback Ryan Mallett.
The Texans cut the 27-year-old after he was late to meetings and missed the team's charter flight to Florida before the 44-26 defeat to the Miami Dolphins, but O'Brien has moved to dismiss reports that there was any issue between the two key decision makers in Houston over the matter.
"Rick Smith and I both have respect for each other," O'Brien said.
"We work together every day. We communicate every day. It's a partnership. Decisions are made by two of us. Obviously they require the concurrence of the owner, Bob McNair. When it comes to personnel, coaching and playing, it's a partnership. That's how it works around here."
Houston immediately picked up quarterback T.J. Yates, who was the Texans' fifth-round draft pick in 2011 and led the team to its first play-off victory that season, following the release of Mallett and coach O'Brien says that the decision was made purely on his lack of time keeping skills.
"Every year we go over the team regulations," O'Brien claimed.
"We don't have a lot of rules, but the one rule we do have is we want guys to be on time. We're not talking about starting a meeting 15 minutes early and that type of thing. If the meeting's supposed to start at 8 o'clock, then be there at 8 o'clock. Be there at 7:59 ready to go. The way that we deal with those issues when they're not here on time — it's dealt with internally. But if it's something that happens time and time again and the message isn't getting through, then we have to make a decision in that regard."
Mallett's tardiness last Saturday marked the second day this year he was known to have been late after missing a practice in August just three days after Brian Hoyer was named the starting quarterback.