Texans' GM Rick Smith taking leave of absence to care for cancer-stricken wife

The 2017 Houston Texans’ season was a memorable one, but not for great reasons: there was the decision to start the season with Tom Savage at quarterback over rookie Deshaun Watson; Hurricane Harvey, which ravaged the team’s city; the season-ending injury to superstar defensive end J.J. Watt; the season-ending injury to Watson, who was stellar once he was handed the reins of the offense; and the recent reports that have put coach Bill O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith at odds.

But on Sunday, moments after the Texans’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts, came news that served as a reminder, like Harvey did, that some things are bigger than football.

Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith announced on Sunday that he is taking an immediate leave of absence to care for his wife, Tiffany, as she battles breast cancer. (AP)

Smith, who has served as Houston’s general manager since 2006, announced through the team that he is taking “an extended leave of absence” to care for his wife, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

His leave starts immediately.

“I have chosen to take an extended leave of absence to focus my attention and intention on my wife’s complete recovery from her recent diagnosis of breast cancer,” the statement reads. “We are faithful and trust in God’s promise of healing and Wholeness. I am eternally grateful to the McNair family for their unwavering support during this time. This was an extremely difficult decision for me to make as I love this organization and every member of this team both on and off the field. I remain committed to our quest to bring a championship to the city of Houston, yet my family needs me now and they are my priority.”

Smith and his wife, Tiffany, have three children.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Tiffany Smith has been undergoing treatments in Arizona. Rick Smith has been traveling back and forth to care for her.

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