Contrary to historical trends, the Kansas City Chiefs, despite consecutive Super Bowl appearances, appear likely to retain the large majority of their coaching staff and front office talent for the 2021 season.
According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano on Monday, one key assistant — linebackers coach Matt House — even recently turned down an offer to become the next defensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee in order to remain in Kansas City for his third season.
League sources tell me Chiefs LBs coach Matt House turned down an offer to be defensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee and elected instead to stay in Kansas City. As a well-regarded member of Andy Reid's staff, House could be on track for NFL coordinator job.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 15, 2021
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House’s Future Prospects Could Come Into Focus in 2022
With this year’s hiring cycle mostly complete, House is at least another year away from garnering serious looks for an NFL defensive coordinator position, but the prospect appears to have been among the driving factors in keeping him around. While an SEC level gig at Tennessee would have been a notable step up the ladder, House does already boast defensive coordinator experience at the collegiate level, including his most recent stop in Kentucky (2016-18), plus Florida International (2015) and Pittsburgh (2012-14) before that.
After underrated performances by his unit the past few seasons, Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo drew at least some interest for a second NFL head coaching stint during this year’s hiring cycle. With another strong, complementary showing next season, it’s likely that will be the case again in 2022.
While strictly speculation at this point, a potential Spagnuolo departure could clear an in-house opening for House, among other internal candidates. Given that Andy Reid proteges have had no shortage of advancement opportunities in recent years, House, a 20-year coaching veteran in his own right, could very well wind up with a more ideal opportunity in the pros in the coming years.
Chiefs Currently Have Only 2 Coaching Vacancies to Fill
House isn’t the only Chiefs assistant to have received an offer to return to the college ranks since Super Bowl LV. On February 8, former running backs coach Deland McCullough, who manned his post in Kansas City for the last three seasons, accepted an elevated role at one of his previous stops, the University of Indiana.
Having served as the school’s running backs coach from 2011-16, McCullough has returned to oversee the position once again, this time with an associate head coach title under current frontman Tom Allen.
— Indiana Football (@IndianaFootball) February 8, 2021
“That was a main attraction outside of the bigger picture of IU,” McCullough told The Daily Hoosier on February 9. “Since I’ve been with the Chiefs I’ve had at least three opportunities to go back to college every year. It made no sense for me to go back and be a pure running backs coach, because I can stay where I was and do that at the highest level with the Chiefs. So the opportunity to be an associate head coach at IU specifically was very strong to me because I know Tom [Allen] and the administration would support me and I could continue to grow and have an impact beyond the running back room.”
The Chiefs’ second opening comes in a newly vacant position under House, previously occupied by Reid’s son, Britt. The 35-year-old’s contract expired last week, just days after he caused a life-threatening multi-vehicle accident which has left a five-year-old girl in critical condition. No longer with the club, Reid stands to face legal and professional ramifications pending conclusion of the ongoing investigation of the February 4 incident.
Clarifications on Britt Reid, per league source: He was placed on leave with the Chiefs through the duration of his contract, which has since expired and he no longer is an employee with the club.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 11, 2021
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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!