Saratoga Springs High School graduate and former NFL lineman Anthony Weaver is expected to be named as the defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, according to various published reports.
Weaver is set to replace Romeo Crennel, who is not expected to return to head coach Bill O’Brien’s staff.
Weaver, who graduated in 1998 from Saratoga Springs, has been a part of the Texans organization since 2016. He spent the last three seasons as the team’s defensive line coach.
After graduating from Saratoga Springs, Weaver played defensive end at Notre Dame before being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round in 2002. He spent seven years in the NFL as a player — four with the Ravens and three with the Texans.
Weaver started his coaching career at the college level, first as a graduate assistant at Florida, and then as linebackers coach at North Texas.
In 2012, he joined the New York Jets as an assistant defensive line coach before moving to the Buffalo Bills as their defensive line coach in 2013. Then he spent three years with the Cleveland Browns as their defensive line coach.
When the Browns staff was dismissed, Weaver returned to his home in Houston that he kept after his playing days were over with the Texans. It would prove to be another deft move by the first four-year starting defensive end for Notre Dame.
His high school coach and Capital Region Football Hall of Fame inductee, Blaise Iuliano, kept in touch with his star and knew he wouldn’t be off the sidelines for long.
“He returned back home to Houston, and immediately Bill O’Brien gets some phone calls and somebody said ‘Hey you better go out and get this guy because someone is going to get him because he’s really good,’ ” Iuliano said in a phone call from his winter home in Florida. “Tony went there and O’Brien liked him a lot and he said ‘Well, Romeo is not in town. Can you come back Monday?’ ”
As Iuliano recalled, Weaver was agreeable, but continued his job search that afternoon.
“Meanwhile, O’Brien receives a phone call that said ‘You better offer him the job because you are going to lose him,’ ” Iuliano said. “O’Brien calls Weaver and said, ‘The job is yours if you want it.’ That’s kind of how it all started.’ ”
Weaver was in the right state and state of mind after getting the job, looking to improve himself even after joining the Texans, this time as a coach.
“He told me when he was a D-line coach and coached linebackers, he made up his mind and said ‘I’ve got to learn more about the secondary. That’s the one area I’m weak in.’ ” Iuliano said.
As Weaver dove into the next level of defensive coaching on his own, he set up meetings with his head coach during the offseason to talk about the secondary.
“I think he sort of knew that Romeo was near the end of his career,” Iuliano said. “[Mike] Vrabel had moved on to the Titans, and he was moving Tony if he was good enough.
“Tony went in there and he nailed the meeting with O’Brien and he did a great job. So I knew that when Romeo steps down, if Tony doesn’t move on, he’s going to be the D-coordinator.’”
Monday’s reports didn’t surprise Iuliano, and he doesn’t think this is the last position that the 2010 Saratoga Springs’ Athletic Hall of Fame and 2011 Capital Region Football Hall of Fame inductee will hold in the NFL.
“This is a stepping stone, definitely,” Iuliano said. “I think his goal is to be a head coach. ... If you are complacent or happy where you are, that’s fine, but he has the ability to be a head coach.”
Weaver has also worked and had success with some of the biggest high-profile names on the Texans, including J.J. Watt.
“He’s been there, he’s done that and he has fun with them,” Iuliano said. “They know that he’s played in the league, that’s No. 1.
“He’s coached around several rotations in college stations, so he doesn’t have to explain himself. When he says something, they listen.”
Follow Stan Hudy on Twitter @StanHudy.