As the Kansas City Chiefs await their upcoming opponent in next weekend’s AFC Divisional Round, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has been busy addressing his future, having already interviewed for five of the NFL’s six head coaching vacancies since Monday.
In addition to being the lone absentee on the list of Bieniemy’s suitors, the Houston Texans have yet to even submit a request to interview Andy Reid’s top offensive assistant after quarterback Deshaun Watson advocated for his hire to owner Cal McNair last October — at the recommendation of Patrick Mahomes no less.
Houston’s decision to hire Nick Caserio as its next general manager without consulting Watson has seemingly worsened its divide with the 25-year-old star, who is now reportedly “extremely unhappy” and has ignored phone calls from Texans’ brass in the last few days, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Thursday.
Now it appears Watson is hardly the only person made uneasy by what is happening within the walls of Houston’s headquarters.
WEEI: Bieniemy ‘Wants Nothing to Do’ With Texans
According to a new report from WEEI’s Christian Fauria on Friday, Bieniemy wants “nothing to do with that [Texans] job and would not take that job.”
— SportsRadio 610 (@SportsRadio610) January 8, 2021
Another popular head coaching candidate, Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, has also turned down the chance to interview with his division rivals to the south.
Aaron Wilson, Texans beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, also confirmed on Friday evening that the feelings between Bieniemy and Houston are now mutual, but originated on the side of the team’s front office, not the coach.
“They didn’t want [Bieniemy], so he doesn’t want them,” Wilson said on The A-Team w/ Wexler & Clanton. “They’re not going to do something where they put on a sham interview with the guy just to placate Deshaun. He’s not going to sit for that. His agent is not going to sit for that. I can tell you I know that directly that Eric’s not going to do that and they’re not going to do that. No one is going to put each other in that bad of position.”
This latest development in this rollercoaster ride is a far cry from a December 22 Pro Football Network report that suggested Houston was the favorite to land the Kansas City coordinator “despite most other teams in the league not being interested.” Instead, the opposite now appears true, at least on the surface.
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Is Bieniemy Favoring New York?
Fauria, a retired 13-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl champion of the New England Patriots, went on to suggest that the Chiefs’ third-year offensive coordinator may already be locked in on his preferred opening.
“Get ready New York Post,” Fauria said on WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria show on Friday. “[Bieniemy’s] going to be the next head coach of the New York Jets…I’m hearing that Eric Bieniemy wants to be and is going to be the next head coach of the New York Jets.”
The 2-14 club, which currently holds the No. 2 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, confirmed that they completed an interview with the 51-year-old on Wednesday.
We have completed an interview with Eric Bieniemy for our head coaching vacancy.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 6, 2021
By now it’s well-established that Bieniemy has come up empty in his pursuit of a promotion, receiving zero offers from seven different interviews over the past two offseasons. However, of the previous group of interviewers, which included the Jets in 2019, New York is the only team showing interest in his services again this year.
The Jets ultimately hired the since-departed Adam Gase two years ago, though that was prior to the arrival of current general manager Joe Douglas, who is running this year’s coaching search.
Andy Reid Continues to Vouch for Bieniemy’s Hire
Despite a few past character concerns that pre-date his NFL tenure to the early 1990s, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid again gave his blessing for Bieniemy’s hire earlier this week.
“I think he’s top-notch,” Reid told reporters on January 4, via The Athletic’s Nate Taylor. “At the risk of being redundant, I have not seen many guys that are as great a leader as he is of men. And in this business, that’s huge. You’re never going to have to worry about Eric Bieniemy, never—on the field, off the field. He’s going to be honest with you and straightforward, and then he knows the offense.”
Reid’s stance on Bieniemy has been strong dating back to last season (and beyond) when he gave this telling response to a hypothetical question about how he’d respond to an NFL owner interested in bringing on Bieniemy to lead their football team.
“I’d say hire him, like right now,” Reid said on December 4, 2019. “That’s what I’d tell you. I don’t want to lose him, but if you’re asking me if he’s ready to be a head coach? Yeah, he’s ready. He was ready last year. Nobody is in more control than what he is within this game. He is a leader of men. He knows football, but he knows the offense like the back of his hand. He is in the quarterback room every day. I think if you talked to Patrick [Mahomes], I think Patrick would tell you how much of an influence he has had on him.”
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!