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Running backs coach Chick Harris saddened, but understands why he is no longer a Texans coach

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Running backs coach Chick Harris, the last remaining original Texans coach on the staff, was among the assistant coaches who was not retained by new head coach Bill O'Brien.

Harris met with O'Brien Saturday and was told he was fired,

"It's really tough," Harris said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports. "I've gotten to know people who were here in the start-up position. It kind of gives you that sinking feeling, melancholy feeling.

"I appreciated them all, It's a big family and when you have to leave that family it hurts you."

Harris was hired by the Texans first head coach in franchise history, Dom Capers, and was retained by Gary Kubiak who was fired with three games left in the 2013 season.

"I was able to blend in with Gary," Harris said. "I really take my hat off to Gary Kubiak for giving me an opportunity to stay and keep my daughter right here in Sugar Land,in Houston. I thought the world of what he was able to do, especially Mr. McNair. He's been nothing but class.

Harris said he understands what O'Brien is doing as he builds his staff with the Texans.

"Just like any new coach coming into a situation, he has people he has known in the past he believes in," Harris said. He wants to get a fresh start. That's why he's bringing in most of his people.

"The guy was good in the interview, one professional to another professional. I understand what a head coach goes through and he wants guys that he has been with.

"That doesn't mean we're super-bad coaches or anything like that. It's just a matter of what his comfort level is going to be when he starts to try to turn the program around and get it back on the winning track. I don't have any problems with that. That's the business."

During his 33 years as an NFL assistant Harris has had eight running backs going over 1000 yards in a season 15 times.

Texans running back Arian Foster, who began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent, owns three 1000 yard seasons on Harris' watch.

"Arian and I met in the weight room when he first came in as a free agent and we talked about what it was going to take for him to make the team, how to be successful," Harris said. "He took care of all of those things.

"He's got a lot of talent. He competed like gang-busters to make himself known as being a football player. He had great confidence. He still has great confidence."

Harris watched Foster become an Associated Press First-Team All-Pro running back in 2010 and get selected for the Pro Bowl three times.

"I take my hat off to him because it was a rough road for him understanding what was asked of him to do, what was demanded of him to do," Harris said.

"He took that in stride and got himself to a point where he's one of the best players in the business after being (an undrafed) free agent."

Harris said Foster is one of the top running backs he's ever been around in the NFL.

"I've had Jerome Bettis," Harris said. I've had Curt Warner. Arian matches right up there with them. He has a great future. The sky is the limit for him."

As far as Harris is concerned, Foster will not be the last 1000-yard running back he has coached.

"Heck yea," Harris said. "You see where maybe someone wanted to do something else because they didn't think you could get it done, that drives me, drives me all the way.

"In coaching you want to make sure that people know you're pretty good at what you do. When somebody tells you, you can't do something that drives you and I'm a driven person. No matter what my age is or what people have said," I know I can do this game.

"These things happen. You just have to get over it and get going again. If you don't want to get going, that means you're supposed to be out of it. I know I can do it."

O'Brien has also chosen not to retain defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, defensive backs coach Vance Joseph, linebackers coach Reggie Herring, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell and tight ends coach Bill Pariani.

Former Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel is expected to replace Phillips as the Texans defensive coordinator

O'Brien has more meetings scheduled with other members of the staff on Monday, including assistant head coach/defensive line Bill Kollar is expected to be retained.

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