Phillips, 64, will have surgery to correct a kidney condition; he did not specify exactly what his illness is but did say that it is neither cancer nor life-threatening. He is expected to be absent from the Texans, who are 10-3 and playoff bound, for a week-to-10 days. Linebackers coach Reggie Herring will take over Phillips’s duties in the Texans’ game Sunday against Carolina.
Phillips was fired after 3 1/2 seasons as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach in November 2010. On Gary Kubiak’s staff in Houston, he has guided the Texans’ rise from last in the league in 2010. Houston ranks first in the NFL in total defense, allowing 275 yards per game; and is third in passing defense (183.5) and fourth in rushing defense (91.5).