months years of momentum and five head coaching interviews last week alone, the star surrounding Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy appears to be stagnant, if not dimming again.
A recent report from NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk even noted that “there’s a sense in league circles that he could once again be shut out of the process.”
On Monday, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, who has gone to bat for Bieniemy countless times since entering the league, did so again, though this time with a slight undertone of frustration at the league’s hiring process.
“I think [he will be hired],” Mahomes told KCSP 610 Sports Radio’s The Drive on Monday. “His track record speaks for itself. The type of man he is, the way he can control and be a leader of the locker room and the way that he coaches and schemes he brings to us. If he doesn’t, people are crazy.”
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Mahomes: ‘I Don’t Understand Why’ E.B. Wouldn’t Be Hired
The 25-year-old superstar, who has thrown for 13,868 yards and 114 touchdowns in 45 starts since Bieniemy’s promotion to offensive coordinator prior to his 2018 MVP campaign, also addressed the notion that the 51-year-old is being knocked for not calling plays in Kansas City.
“If you see how our offense has produced over these last few years, he’s been one of the most vital pieces of that,” said Mahomes, via The Drive. “Obviously, I want him to be here, but I understand he deserves a chance to go out there and coach his own team and run his own organization. He’s a guy that’s going to hold everyone in that organization accountable. He’s going to build the culture the right way and obviously, he knows how to call the plays and do that stuff and produce on the field.”
“There’s no real negatives about it, and so I don’t understand why he wouldn’t get one in this kind of cycle.”
It appears the Chiefs’ continued success on the field could be impeding Bieniemy’s chances of a promotion more than any past personal issues, interview history or concerns about his leadership ability. While those have all reportedly been the primary reasons for giving teams pause, those closest to Bieniemy on a daily basis have a much different perspective.
“I think he’s top-notch,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid told reporters on January 4. “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.”
Will Bieniemy’s Potential Suitors Wait up for Him?
Unless the third-year coordinator is high atop the list of preferred candidates for his five current suitors — the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Chargers — the likelihood any club waits until the Chiefs are eliminated from the postseason to hire him are growing slimmer.
The offseason is crucial to the development of rebuilding franchises, especially those with top picks in April’s NFL Draft, so each day that passes with a new leader can be considered a setback.
According to one source in the Pro Football Talk report, “Bieniemy is privately saying that he wants to stay with the Chiefs until he finds the perfect job.” Time will ultimately reveal the next chapter of this saga, but early signs are pointing to E.B. remaining to K.C. in 2021 despite being perfectly qualified to take the next step in his career if given the chance.
In total, Bieniemy has interviewed for 11 different NFL teams in search of a head coach, including now two meetings with the Jets while turning down a potential 13th interview with the Arizona Cardinals, over the past three seasons.
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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!