HOUSTON, TX-- Seldom does a plan come together so perfectly when it involves so many moving pieces. Through sheer determination, guile, and a little luck, the entire Houston Texans organization has tricked their general manager Rick Smith into thinking the 2014 NFL Draft was still going to take place on its usual late-April weekend and convinced him to fly to New York early this morning to attend it.
NFL Draft 2014
NFL Draft 2014
Sources say fits of raucous laughter could be heard throughout the Texans facility after Smith, clearly oblivious, left for the airport after stopping in to give his staff some final instructions. "He was so stern and serious," said Brian Gaine, Director of Pro Personnel in between giggles. "He was prattling on and on about remaining sharp and how important this weekend was going to be. Thank God he left when he did because I almost ruined the whole thing trying not to laugh."
"It started off innocently enough," chuckled new head coach Bill O'Brien, wiping laughter tears from his eyes. "We realized last week that he was preparing for the draft as if there still wasn't almost a month to go. He was trying to cram in as many visits and interviews as possible this week. Why else would we bring in [Johnny] Manziel and [Jadeveon] Clowney in on the same day?"
This year's draft was pushed back to May 8th due to a scheduling conflict at Radio City Music Hall, but somehow, some way, Smith did not know about it. For the last week, O'Brien has made sure that everyone inside the facility went to painstaking measures to make sure it stayed that way. That meant no televisions in the office, no NFL correspondence within sight and no direct interaction with the media. Smith's wife Tiffany was all too eager to lend a hand, explained O'Brien. "She said something about him not taking out the garbage, I don't know."
Even owner Bob McNair had a hand in it. "Yeah, when Bill [O'Brien] came up to me begging to keep this joke he had started, I was skeptical. I mean, we're running a business here and trying to win games," explained McNair, shaking his head. "But then I thought, this is the guy who drafted Sam Montgomery in the third round, and I told him, 'sign me up!'"
McNair went on to explain that he even convinced Smith that there was an error in the budget appropriations for his flight and hotel. "I told him we'd pay him back," said McNair, laughing hysterically. "And he bought it!" After several minutes of laughter, McNair made sure to clarify that his pun was intended.
Smith, who's entering his eighth year as the Texans' GM, reportedly wondered why no one was going with him. "It was almost too easy," explained O'Brien. "We held up random pieces of paper and told him our flight was leaving later today." He went on to mimic Smith by dumbly nodding his head while holding imaginary luggage, much to the delight of all the staff in the room.
"I feel a little bad, but then I remember the whole Ed Reed fiasco, and I wonder how he even has his job," pondered McNair, apparently not realizing the irony in his statement. "Maybe I'll have his credit card suspended while he's over there... that'd be a hoot, wouldn't it?"
Calls to Rick Smith, whose flight landed in New York at 11 a.m. CDT, were not immediately returned.