Eric Bieniemy

Chiefs’ Eric Bieniemy Turns Down Colorado

Eric Bieniemy won’t be leaving Kansas City. This week, the Chiefs offensive coordinator withdrew his name from consideration, as Mike Klis of 9News tweets

Bieniemy did not formally interview for the job, but the Buffs pursued him hard nonetheless. Klis’ understanding is that Bieniemy was Colorado’s first choice for the job and they kept in contact with him throughout, even while he was on vacation.

Bieniemy has interviewed for a number of NFL head coaching jobs in recent cycles but has yet to come away with any. Colorado presented him with an opportunity to finally run his own show – and return to his alma mater – but he ultimately felt that the Chiefs job was too good to give up. Besides, with another year of electric offense in Kansas City, it feels inevitable that Bieniemy will finally get his big break. Had Bieniemy signed up at Colorado, he likely would have been tied to the school for multiple seasons with a significant buyout for any NFL team hiring him.

Bieniemy has been a Chiefs assistant for the last seven years. This offseason, he interviewed with the Browns, Giants, and Panthers about their head coaching vacancies. Last year, he chatted with the Bucs and Dolphins.

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Eric Bieniemy Planning To Stay With Chiefs

Prior to latching on with Andy Reid when the longtime Eagles coach relocated to Kansas City, Eric Bieniemy was the University of Colorado’s offensive coordinator. And the Colorado alum is squarely on the Buffaloes’ radar for their recently available head coaching gig.

Colorado has made multiple overtures to the Chiefs’ OC about the job Mel Tucker recently vacated when he left after one season to take the Michigan State HC job. However, the Bieniemy-to-Boulder rumors are not expected to produce a move.

The Pac-12 program’s interest in the seven-year Chiefs assistant has not generated much in the way of traction, with Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com indicating Bieniemy is content where he is — largely because of what will likely come his way in 2021 (video link). Bieniemy is likely on the verge of receiving a chance to be a head coach in 2021, after taking three interviews this offseason. And the Super Bowl ring he is set to receive may well cement yet another Reid OC earning a top NFL job. He spoke about his dream to be an NFL head coach before Super Bowl LIV.

Bieniemy met with the Browns, Giants and Panthers about their vacancies this offseason and interviewed for the Buccaneers’ and Dolphins’ jobs in 2019. Although things change fast in the NFL, Reid’s right-hand man during Patrick Mahomes‘ ascent figures to have a good chance of being one of the NFL’s 32 HCs come 2021. The 2020 season will be Bieniemy’s third as Chiefs OC.

Colorado also has Giants outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema on its radar; the ex-Wisconsin and Arkansas HC will interview for the post. As of now, it does not sound like Bieniemy will take a meeting with his alma mater. The ex-NFL running back played at Colorado from 1987-90 and was part of the Buffs’ 1990 national championship team. Bieniemy, 50, broke into coaching as Colorado’s running backs coach from 2001-02.

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Giants’ Bret Bielema To Interview For Colorado HC Job

Bret Bielema‘s Giants stay may not end up lasting long. After expressing interest in the Michigan State job, the Giants assistant is set to interview for the position vacated because of the Spartans’ hire.

Michigan State ended up going with Colorado head coach Mel Tucker, the Buffaloes’ HC for one season. Colorado will now interview Bielema for the job, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, a Colorado alum, also remains in consideration for the post, Mike Klis of 9News tweets.

The Giants hired Bielema to be their outside linebackers coach; he also has “senior defensive assistant” in his current title. He spent the past two seasons with Joe Judge in New England, the second of those slates as the Pats’ defensive line coach. But judging by the connection to two Division I HC jobs thus far this offseason, Bielema’s future may be back at the college level.

Bielema, 50, was the head coach at Wisconsin (2006-12) and Arkansas (2013-17). After the Razorbacks fired him, he surfaced on Bill Belichick‘s staff. After the Patriots lost several assistants last year, Bielema served as one of their most experienced staffers. However, the two years in New England doubled as Bielema’s only two as an NFL coach. Bielema was under consideration to be the Giants’ defensive coordinator, but Judge opted for former Patriots coworker Patrick Graham. Bielema then settled for a lesser role with the Giants.

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Colorado Eyeing Eric Bieniemy For HC Vacancy

The University of Colorado is seeking a new head coach, and they’re eyeing an alumni to fill the spot. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports (via Twitter) that the school has reached out to Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy about the vacancy. Earlier today, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the school was expected to reach out to Bieniemy, even though it was unlikely he’d leave his current gig.

Bieniemy was a standout player during his time at Colorado, earning a consensus All-American nod while also being named a Heisman Trophy finalist. The 1991 second-round pick ended up sticking around the NFL for nine years as a player, serving mostly as a pass-catching backup running back.

Following his playing career, Bieniemy returned to Colorado as their running backs coach. He lated moved on to UCLA before taking the leap to the NFL coaching ranks with the Vikings. In 2011, he joined Colorado again to be their offensive coordinator, and he later joined Andy Reid‘s staff in Kansas City as their RBs coach.

He was promoted to Chiefs OC in 2018 after Matt Nagy took the head coaching job with the Bears. Thanks in part to the promotion (and, obviously, the emergence of Patrick Mahomes), the Chiefs have evolved into one of the top offenses in the entire league.

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Eric Bieniemy Still Eyeing HC Job

This year, Eric Bieniemy was in demand on the head coaching circuit once again. And, once again, Bieniemy did not emerge with a head coaching job. Still, the Chiefs offensive coordinator remains determined to eventually run his own ship. 

I mean, that’s everybody’s dream to be one of the 32 head coaches. That’s everybody’s dream,” Bieniemy said (via ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher). “Someday, possibly, it may happen. But right now, the only thing that matters is making sure our guys, our players and our coaching staff is focused on the goal — and that’s making sure we play to the end of that final echo of the whistle come Sunday.”

Bieniemy drew interest from the Browns, Giants, and Panthers this offseason. Last year, he met with the Buccaneers, Bengals, and Dolphins (and turned down an interview with the Cardinals). The offensive guru has been in the running for at least six HC jobs in the last two cycles, but came away with none.

Given that Ron Rivera was the only minority candidate to land a head coaching job in this cycle, many have called for a revamp to the league’s Rooney Rule. For his part, Bieniemy says he’s keeping the focus on himself and his Super Bowl-bound squad.

Every coach may have a different gripe about whatever comes up in their own organization,” Bieniemy said when asked whether minority assistant coaches were being treated unfairly on the whole. “But we all have an opportunity to do what we do…I love my job. I have no complaints in what I do and how I do it. I know one thing: When it’s all said and done with, we get to line up and play football. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m a football coach.”

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Browns To Interview Eric Bieniemy

Eric Bieniemy turned down the Cardinals, but he’s open to joining the Browns. The Chiefs offensive coordinator will sit down with Cleveland brass on Friday afternoon, per a club announcement.

Bieniemy will be the third candidate to meet with the Browns regarding their HC vacancy. On Thursday, the club chatted with former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

He won’t be the last to chat with the team, either. Per PFR’s 2020 Head Coaching Search Tracker, there are upwards of ten candidates on the Browns’ radar:

Eric Bieniemy To Meet With Giants, Panthers

Another Andy Reid offensive coordinator is drawing significant interest on the coaching market. After receiving interview requests from the Browns, Giants and Panthers, Eric Bieniemy has set his itinerary.

The Chiefs’ offensive coordinator will meet with the Panthers on Thursday and Giants on Saturday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). It is not known if Bieniemy will take a Browns interview.

Bieniemy was part of the 2019 interview cycle, with the Buccaneers, Bengals and Dolphins requesting summits with the Kansas City OC. Should Bieniemy be hired, he would follow Chiefs OC predecessors Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy in landing HC gigs. The former led the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII championship; the latter was last season’s coach of the year. Reid’s coaching tree has proven to generate good hires.

Although the Chiefs fared well under Pederson and Nagy, they’ve certainly hit another gear during Bieniemy’s tenure. While the Reid-Patrick Mahomes partnership receives most of the credit for the Chiefs morphing into one of the league’s most explosive offenses, Bieniemy has served as K.C.’s OC during each of Mahomes’ two years as starting quarterback. Reid serves as Kansas City’s primary play-caller, but his seventh-year assistant has played a role in elevating the Chiefs to two straight playoff byes.

The Giants will also meet with Mike McCarthy and Cowboys secondary coach Kris Richard for their latest HC vacancy. They are interested in Baylor’s Matt Rhule as well. They have also requested interviews with Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge and Ravens defensive boss Don “Wink” Martindale. The Panthers have met with McCarthy, requested an interview with Josh McDaniels and are also interested in Rhule.

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Black Monday Rumors: McDaniels, Bieniemy, Browns

The Giants have fired head coach Pat Shumur, the Browns have fired head coach Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland GM John Dorsey‘s fate is up in the air, Bruce Allen is out with the Redskins, Ron Rivera looks like he’s in, and we have a lot more to pass along:

  • The Giants are rumored to be targeting Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, but they have requested an interview with Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter) that the Panthers have also requested a summit with Bieniemy, a branch of the fruitful Andy Reid coaching tree whom Reid feels is ready for an HC job.
  • We heard this morning that the Browns have requested an interview with Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, and they also want to interview Ravens OC Greg Roman, per Schefter (via Twitter). Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets that Cleveland is expected to interview Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski again. Stefanski was a finalist for the Browns’ HC job last year before they elected to hire Kitchens.
  • Schefter says the Browns have asked permission to interview 49ers DC Robert Saleh (Twitter link), and Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com says the team plans to interview Mike McCarthy as well (Twitter link). Cleveland had an interview scheduled with McCarthy last year, but by that time, the club had already zeroed in on Kitchens, so the interview never happened. McCarthy and Dorsey worked together in Green Bay, so Dorsey may be rooting for a McCarthy hire.
  • In addition to the Browns, the Giants and Panthers have also requested interviews with McDaniels, as Schefter tweets.
  • Despite recent reports indicating that he wants to stay in Baltimore, Ravens DC Don “Wink” Martindale is generating a great deal of HC buzz, as Rapoport tweets. If he is hired, Martindale would want to pluck LSU passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Brady from the collegiate ranks to be his OC. If you’ve watched college football this year, you can’t blame Martindale for that choice.
  • Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone will meet with owner Shad Khan tomorrow to discuss his fate, as NFL insider Adam Caplan tweets.

Head Coach Search Updates: Rivera, McCarthy, Panthers, Candidates

Former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera will not be unemployed for long. An earlier report noted that Washington had “strong interest” and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that sources close to Rivera expect an agreement to form quickly and could even come together in the next couple days. Aside from Washington, Rapoport notes that some teams that are considering firing their head coach (like the Giants) have Rivera circled as a top target if they do create an opening.

Rivera served as the head coach in Carolina from 2011-2019 and led the team to a 73-63-1 regular season record and a 3-4 postseason record. A linebacker in his playing days with the historic 1980s Bears defenses, Rivera has always been a defensive-minded coach. Prior to his time with the Panthers, he had served as a linebackers coach with the Eagles and Chargers and as the defensive coordinator for the Bears and Chargers.

Here’s some more notes from the NFL coaching carousel:

  • As the Panthers look to replace Rivera, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has emerged as a one of the leading candidates to take over in Carolina. According to Rapoport, McCarthy has already interviewed with the Panthers twice and did very well. Given the strong reputation of Rivera, a candidate like McCarthy, with a long resume (that includes a Super Bowl title) may be more desirable to franchise brass. With that said, Rapoport noted that Carolina plans to interview some younger coaches as well including Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy among others.
  • While some teams have already begun their head coaching searches, the hiring search process will heat up as soon as teams complete the regular season. For an in-depth primer on the wide variety of coaches that could be in line to become head coaches this season, take a look at Rapoport and Tom Pelissero’s detailed list of coaches to know, which includes short descriptions on the most prominent names. The list breaks candidates into categories from former NFL head coaches to first-timers and even examines some college coaches.

Chiefs OC Talks HC Interviews, Role In KC, Future

Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was a popular name in the head coach circuit this past offseason. The 49-year-old ultimately had interviews with four organizations: the Jets, Buccaneers, Bengals, and Dolphins. Ultimately, Bieniemy didn’t get that head-coaching offer, but he remains confident about his standing in the NFL.

Of course, his inability to secure a head-coaching job says more about the other candidates than Bieniemy, as the coordinator’s resume speaks for itself. The former second-round player has essentially been coaching since his nine-year playing career came to an end, and he’s been on the Chiefs staff since 2013. After working with the likes of Jamaal Charles, Spencer Ware, and Kareem Hunt during his stint as running backs coach, Bieniemy was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018. During his first year on the job, the coach played a major role in the Chiefs establishing themselves as the top offense in the league.

Appearing at the NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit, Bieniemy talked to ESPN’s Vaughn McClure about his head coach interviews, his role on the Chiefs’ coaching staff, and his preparation for future job interviews. The entire article is worth a read, but we’ve compiled some of the notable soundbites below.

On the sentiment that he wasn’t hired as a head coach because of his lack of play-calling experience:

“Here’s my response about the playcalling: coach (Andy) Reid has always done it his way, and that’s how historically he’s done it because he’s Coach Reid. He has a beautiful mind, and we all work hand-in-hand together. And he gives me the green light to do a number of things. I have input. I do scripts. I get the install. There are a number of things that I do.”

On his interaction with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid:

“Do I talk to the quarterback? Yes. (Reid) is reciting what he wants me to particularly tell Pat to call. So if people want to make a big deal about that, so be it. The experience that I’ve gotten, understanding how an offensive system works, the organization, how to prepare it, how to get guys going and moving in one direction for one cause, that’s what this is about.”

On support from the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which “oversees compliance with the Rooney Rule requiring teams to interview minority candidates”:

“John Wooten and the Fritz Pollard Alliance, I thought they did a hell of a job; they gave me an opportunity. Obviously, Coach Reid has given me an opportunity. And I think my interviewing process went about as good as it could go.

On how this offseason prepared him for future head-coaching interviews:

“…[I]t gave me the experience moving forward knowing that, ‘You know what, this is my first go-around. Second go-around, if I’m blessed and fortunate to be placed in that situation, I’ll be that much better.’ But as far as a head-coaching position is concerned, right now we’re focused on the season. Obviously, we want to go out and do some things that’s going to help us to continue to have success. Then if somebody wants to give me a chance, I’ll be willing, ready, and waiting for that opportunity.”

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