David Culley on Whitney Mercilus release: ‘We had a lot of depth at that position’

Mercilus spent a decade with the franchise after being drafted in 2012

Whitney Mercilus and other members of the Houston Texans defense (Getty Images)

The Texans have released veteran Whitney Mercilus.

Mercilus spent a decade with the franchise after being drafted by the Texans in 2002. His 57 sacks rank second in franchise history behind J.J. Watt.

KPRC 2 spoke with head coach David Culley ahead of our weekly program, “Texans Gameday.”

“What ended up happening is that we’ve got a lot of depth at that position,” Culley said. “Whitney’s been around a long time. He’s been a big part of what the Houston Texans is all about.”

Culley also says the team wanted to give Mercilus a chance to thrive elsewhere.

“At this point, with where we’re going, we felt like for the best of our football team, and best for Whitney, was to be able to move on and give him a chance to be able to hook up with someone at this point,” Culley said. “It’s to move on and get better at what we’re trying to do.”

“There aren’t many players in franchise history who have impacted our organization and community the way Whitney Mercilus has,” said Texans Chair and CEO Cal McNair. “I can recall a number of times over the last 10 seasons where he stepped up for us on the field with a sack or big play in a crucial moment, but it was his unique connection with the Houston community that made him one of the most popular players in franchise history. Our fan base gravitated to Whitney from day one and he always found ways to give back and serve through his foundation and culinary work. My family and the entire organization will always consider Whitney a Texan.”

The Texans also released return specialist Andre Roberts.

KPRC 2′s full interview with Culley will air at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning on “Texans Gameday.”