“I know he’s not going to be here very long, but I’m going to enjoy every last minute.”
The third-year offensive coordinator has been front and center in head coaching searches around the NFL for the past two years, including the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants this past offseason, but has come up empty each time. However, when the Houston Texans fired GM and Head Coach Bill O’Brien on Monday, speculation surrounding Bieniemy’s future was front and center once again.
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Eric Bieniemy Deemed a ‘Perfect Fit’ For Texans
With O’Brien out of the picture following Houston’s disappointing 0-4 start, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle has confirmed that Romeo Crennel will now take over as interim head coach, presumably for the remainder of the season. At 73 years old, the former Patriots, Browns and Chiefs coach is now the oldest head coach in NFL history, surpassing Hall of Famer and Chicago Bears great George Halas.
What happens in 2021 is anyone’s guess, but many in the football community are already drawing the connection between Bieniemy and the top coaching job in Houston, especially considering the similarities at the quarterback position between Bieniemy’s current MVP signal-caller Patrick Mahomes and two-time Pro Bowler Deshaun Watson.
With Bieniemy’s contract in Kansas City set to expire at season’s end, the former NFL running back is already being called a “perfect fit” for the Texans job by multiple analysts, including former Chiefs OG Geoff Schwartz.
Reid on Bieniemy: ‘I Don’t Want to Lose Him’
For Reid, the prospect of losing Bieniemy to an NFL franchise in search of an offensive-minded head coach, as has been the trend in recent years with the hires of up-and-comers such as Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan and Kliff Kingsbury, is nothing new. In fact, it’s everything a veteran leader like Reid could hope for as a mentor to his staff.
Look no further than Reid’s response to a reporter during a press conference last December. When asked what he would tell an NFL owner inquiring about hiring Bieniemy in the offseason, the Chiefs’ eighth-year head coach gave a telling response.
“I’d say hire him, like right now,” said Reid. “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.”
About a month later, Reid was once again probed about how Bieniemy might fair taking the next step in his career. While the question was framed differently, Reid’s answer was much the same.
“You guys know how I feel about Eric,” said Reid in January. “I think he’d be tremendous. There’s a team out there — I don’t know the team, but there’s a team out there — that could really use him. Being the leader of men that he is, you’re not going to find people better than that in that category. And he’s a sharp offensive mind on top of that. So I’m a big fan. Don’t want to lose him, but reality is, there’s a good chance that happens.”
Expect Bieniemy’s candidacy to gain even more momentum as the season progresses and more opportunities arise, notably as a potential replacement to coaches already on the hot seat, such as Adam Gase (New York Jets, 0-4), Dan Quinn (Atlanta Falcons, 0-4) and Matt Patricia (Detroit Lions, 1-3).