In their first season with former Buffalo Bills executive Brian Gaine as general manager, the Houston Texans rebounded from an 0-3 start and made the playoffs thanks to a franchise-record nine-game winning streak.
Despite the success Gaine had in his first season as Houston’s GM, Gaine was fired in June, a move that drew scrutiny around the league, especially considering the Texans’ 11-5 record en route to the AFC South championship.
After USA Today did some investigating, it turned out there was more to the story behind Gaine’s termination. USA Today discovered that Jeff Pope, who previously coordinated security for the Texans, had filed a discrimination complaint alleging that Gaine was going after minority employees who held down leadership roles with the team, and filling those positions with non-African-Americans.
Defending Gaine as a man of “high character,” the Texans stated that his termination had nothing to do with Pope’s discrimination complaint.
Before he was hired in Houston, Gaine had played an instrumental role on current Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane’s initial front office staff, serving as Buffalo’s vice president of player personnel in 2017. With Gaine once again available to potentially help his franchise, Beane received a call from Gaine, alerting him to the impending media circus surrounding Gaines’ termination.
Wanting to do his due diligence on a man he knew quite well, Beane called the Texans about Gaine, and was promptly told the allegations were tantamount to nothing.
“I talked to someone high up in Houston and they assured me that this was a baseless deal,” Beane told Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic: Buffalo on Thursday, the day the Bills opened up training camp at St. John Fisher College. “You know Sean, me, Terry and Kim, we’re about high character. If we thought there was any truth to that, we wouldn’t do it. I’ve known Brian for a number of years. There’s not one person you can find that truly knows Brian Gaine that would associate what that accusation was with him. To me, it sounded baseless. Obviously I wasn’t there. But there was nothing to it other than an employee who was let go, who I guess this was the only recourse he knew. I don’t know all the circumstances. Definitely nothing that would attach that with Brian Gaine.”
Beane — who told Fairburn his decision to hire Gaine to join his staff for the 2019 season was a “no-brainer,” — had plenty of previous working experience with Gaine. Unfortunately for Gaine, his old job is now being handled by Dan Morgan, with Beane having Gaine handle the team’s college scouting among his job duties.
Beane said he was impressed with how well Gaine handled his firing, and credited Gaine’s ability to be a team player as one of the biggest reasons why the team brought Gaine back.
“He’s such a team player,” Beane said. “He comes back in here and he’s all about, what can I do for the team? He’s not waving around all of the experience he has. It’s great to have him back. You hate that that happened to him, but it’s great fortune for the Buffalo Bills to have Brian Gaine on anybody’s staff. All of our guys welcomed him. There’s no egos. It’s not like people are worried about him stepping over them. It’s like he never left in a lot of ways.”