Despite some recent speculation that Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy “did not crush” his head coaching interview with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, the 51-year-old remains “very much in the mix” for the position, according to new information from NFL Network’s Steve Wyche and others on Saturday.
Bieniemy, who is considered one of the top head-coaching candidates and who has interviewed for multiple head-coaching openings, “prepared, knew everything about the team, had a great plan and is a bona fide candidate,” the source said.
The source said Falcons officials are furious about reports that Bieniemy, 51, did not interview well and “absolutely refute” those reports.
Wyche’s story comes on the heels of a Houston Chronicle report from Texans beat writer Aaron Wilson, who on Friday told Houston’s SportsTalk 790 that Bieniemy struggled during his interview with the Falcons and other teams earlier this week.
“I heard about the Atlanta interview, they literally want to hire a Black coach,” Wilson said on The A-Team with Wexler & Clanton radio program on January 8. “They would love for [Bieniemy] to crush the interview. He did not crush the interview, and these teams care a lot about these interviews.”
You can listen to Wilson’s full remarks below, beginning at the 10:15 mark.
Wilson, who prior to his time at the Houston Chronicle covered the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun, also went on to claim that another out-of-market candidate, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, did not interview well for the Detroit Lions job. That report has also been refuted less than 24 hours later by multiple regional reporters, including Jeff Lesson of 97.1 The Ticket and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
Follow the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Chiefs Kingdom!
Multiple Reports Refute Bieniemy Struggled in Atlanta
In addition to Wyche, at least two other prominent NFL reporters have come to the defense of Bieniemy, including NFL Media colleague and Huddle & Flow co-host, Jim Trotter. In a Twitter string on Saturday, Trotter noted that he, too, spoke to a Falcons source who said “nothing could be further from the truth” in regard to Wilson’s claim.
One of the more plugged-in Falcons beat writers, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, also put a quick stop to Bieniemy’s alleged struggles on Saturday.
Bieniemy Reportedly ‘Wants Nothing to Do’ With Texans
As it relates to Houston, Bieniemy has also been in the news there, but for a different reason altogether. After the Texans were the only one of six NFL teams in search of a head coach to not request an interview with Andy Reid’s top offensive assistant, Bieniemy has reportedly moved on.
According to WEEI’s Christian Fauria, a former 13-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl champion of the New England Patriots, Bieniemy wants “nothing to do with that [Texans] job and would not take that job.”
Interestingly enough, prior to the hiring of new general manager Nick Caserio on Tuesday evening, at least one sports betting site still had Bieniemy listed as the favorite to land the Texans gig as of Monday. Now, that ship has officially sailed.
New York on Bieniemy’s Mind?
During the same WEEI segment on the Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria show on Friday, Fauria also revealed that he’s hearing the third-year offensive coordinator may prefer a different AFC job anyways — with 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,” Fauria claimed.
The Jets, who currently hold the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after a dismal 2-14 regular season, have also shown interest in Bieniemy in the past, having interviewed him in 2019 before electing to hire the now-fired Adam Gase. They completed their most recent vetting of Bieniemy this past Wednesday, per the team.
- Chiefs Re-Sign Beloved 2-Time Pro Bowler for Playoffs: Report
- Patrick Mahomes Snubbed, Among 5 Chiefs Named to All-Pro Team
- Chiefs Linked to Browns’ Pro Bowl Pass Rusher in Free Agency
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!