The only Shanahan on the sidelines

8:59 PM, Aug 12, 2009   |    comments
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Kyle Shanahan is entering his second season as the offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans. He's taken over play-calling duties and hopes to help lead the team to its first-ever playoff appearance.

"He [Texans head coach Gary Kubiak] knows what I'm trying to do and he's letting me go for it a little bit more," Shanahan said. "This is the first time in my coaching career I've had the same job more than two years in a row. I feel a lot more comfortable, and the guys know what to expect."

Shanahan started learning the ropes in 2004, when Jon Gruden hired him as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Two years later, he went to work for the Texans as the wide receivers coach. Now, at 29, he's the youngest coordinator in the league.

"I think I can be a little more aggressive because I can be a little more impulsive, you know, being a little younger and not having that wisdom," Shanahan said.

"He's always been exceptional," Kubiak said. "He's young, but he can coach older players. He can coach anybody, so he's very comfortable from that standpoint, very driven."

Of course, he should be. Shanahan has football in his blood. He's the only son of former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.

"My dad and I are close," Shanahan said. "I made it a point not to go with him early on, you know, I wanted to try to pay my dues and earn some respect."

Now considered one of the rising stars in the NFL coaching ranks, Shanahan is focused most on putting the Texans in the playoffs for the first time. But he's also thinking about the game day experience a lot of football fans in Denver will be having this season - the one minus his father.

"I'm a Bronco fan. I always have been. I mean, every time my game's over, that's the first thing I get home to go watch. So it will be a little different," Shanahan said.

"But it's fun to give him some crap. It's the first time I'm the only one in the family working, so I finally got that over him."

That's not to say Shanahan is counting his dad out just yet. At the annual celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe in July, the elder Shanahan told 9NEWS he's keeping an open mind about the future. He visited the New England Patriots training camp, and his son says he's studying football like a young coach again.

And when the time is right, Kyle Shanahan says he may have just the right opportunity for his dad.

"Maybe I'll have to give him a job next year," Shanahan said smiling. "Hire him as maybe my assistant."

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