Final Eric Bieniemy Suitor Reaches Head Coaching Decision: Report

Eric Bieniemy Chiefs Texans

Getty Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (left) and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (right)

If you’re reading the tea leaves on a recent report from John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, it’s highly likely Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will return to the team in 2021.

According to the longtime NFL beat writer on Wednesday, the lone remaining suitor for Bieniemy this season — the Houston Texans — is closing in on two final candidates for its vacant head coaching position: Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Baltimore Ravens passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach David Culley — the latest in a line of Andy Reid proteges to garner looks for a head gig.

Because general manager Nick Caserio has interviewed only two candidates two times, it seems safe to say the Texans are going to choose between Leslie Frazier and David Culley to become their new head coach — a decision that could come before the weekend.

Obviously, neither of them is Bieniemy, who interviewed with the Texans on January 18 after speculation that he wouldn’t accept a meeting with the frazzled AFC South club.

Update: As of Wednesday night, Culley appears to be the Texans’ choice, with an official announcement possible as early as Thursday while the sides work out a contract, per NFL Network. Culley will remain in Houston overnight after his follow-up interview earlier in the day.

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder and Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, Reid was among Culley’s advocates.

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No Offers for Bieniemy Despite 14 Interviews in Last 3 Years

A more recent January 24 report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested that both Bieniemy and Frazier were beginning to assemble their potential supporting staffs after expecting to receive second interviews with Houston.

After the Chiefs knocked off the Bills in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, that second chance only came for Frazier, who joins Culley as the only two candidates to interview twice with new Texans general manager Nick Caserio.

Now in his third trip around the spin cycle that is the NFL’s head coach hiring process, Bieniemy — through no fault of his own — has become the face of a movement against the lack of diverse hires throughout the league, most notably at the top of its all-powerful franchises.

With the Texans job seemingly out of the picture, the 51-year-old has now come up empty on all 14 of his interviews over the last three years, including all seven openings this year and twice with the New York Jets.

Bieniemy’s Roller Coaster Ride With Texans Hits a Stop

Though Houston was Bieniemy’s last-ditch effort for his all-elusive promotion in 2021, the relationship between the sides got off to a rocky start earlier this month.

At least some of quarterback Deshaun Watson’s ongoing frustration with his front office has come from the team’s decision not to consult him on Caserio’s hiring or interview Bieniemy despite advocating for his hire as early as last October. Coincidentally, on January 12, the Texans were the second-to-last team with a vacancy (besides the Eagles who parted ways with Doug Pederson the day prior) to request permission to speak to the Chiefs’ third-year coordinator.

That development led to reports on January 8 from WEEI’s Christian Fauria that Bieniemy wanted “nothing to do with” the Texans job, though the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson noted later that day that the feelings originated on the side of the front office.

“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.”

All of which was a far cry from a December 22 report from Pro Football Network’s Benjamin Allbright suggesting Bieniemy was the favorite in Houston “despite most other teams in the league not being interested.”

With his impending return to Kansas City next season, the Chiefs will have managed to keep their entire staff intact for two straight years following consecutive Super Bowl appearances.


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!

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