It appears Lovie Smith is headed back to the NFL after getting fired by Illinois.

Smith had a long tenure in the NFL, both as a defensive assistant and as a head coach, before coming to Champaign in 2016. After three poor seasons with the Illini, Smith led the program to a bowl game in 2019 and a 6-7 record.

Unfortunately, the momentum from that season did not carry into 2020. Some early season COVID-19 test results may have derailed the campaign, but Illinois finished at 2-5 under Smith with Illinois firing him ahead of the season finale against Penn State. He went 17-39 with the Illini.

On Friday morning, NFL insider Ian Rapoport is reporting Smith is expected to finalize a deal soon to become the new defensive coordinator of the Houston Texans. That report comes as Houston gets ready to introduce new head coach David Culley at a Friday afternoon press conference.

Smith landed his first DC job in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams in 2001. He then spent 11 years as a head coach, including nine with the Chicago Bears, beginning in 2004.

Best of luck to Smith if he is indeed back on his way to the NFL.