KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tyreek Hill was thrilled to hear that his first wide receivers coach, David Culley, was going to be an NFL head coach.
He was baffled by the fact his current offensive coordinator once again will not.
After interviewing for six openings, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy ultimately was passed over during the annual coaching carousel. That became official when the Houston Texans hired Culley, the long-time Andy Reid assistant who had been the assistant head coach in Baltimore.
“I mean, I'm not a GM or anything but I will say, Coach Bieniemy has helped me a lot,” Hill said Thursday, after the Chiefs finished their first real practice for the Super Bowl. “It's very shocking that he didn't get a job.”
The Jets were interested but hired Robert Saleh from San Francisco — the coordinator that couldn't stop Bieniemy's offense in the fourth quarter of last year's Super Bowl. The Falcons zeroed in on Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and the Chargers went with Brandon Staley from the Rams. The Lions took Dan Campbell from the Saints and the Eagles hired the Colts' Nick Sirianni, who broke into the NFL with Kansas City under then-coach Todd Haley.
Just about the only job that Bieniemy never seemed a possibility was Jacksonville, which had focused on Urban Meyer all along. Yet even the Jaguars brought Reid's right-hand man in for an interview early in the search process.
“I'm glad I have him but I'm not-so glad I have him,” Reid said. “I was really hoping he would have an opportunity to take one of these jobs. You know what I think of him. I think he's great, and I think he would be great for any number of teams that opened up and help them win football game and also develop men into men. I think he's a great person that way.”
Bieniemy has taken the high road when he's been asked about being a head coach, though an undercurrent of frustration seems to accompany his answers. He insists that his focus is only on helping the Chiefs prepare for the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl, and that he will get his opportunity to be a head coach eventually if he deserves it.
Hard to argue he doesn't already.
His predecessors with the Chiefs have both gone on to be head coaches, Doug Pederson with the Eagles — where he won a Super Bowl and has since been fired — and Matt Nagy with the Bears. Yet since earning the promotion to coordinator, the long-time running backs coach has taken an already dynamic Chiefs offense and made it better.
They led the NFL with 416 yards total offense per game, nearly 20 clear of second-place Buffalo. They led in passing at more than 303 yards per game, even though Patrick Mahomes sat out a meaningless Week 17 game. Most importantly, they piled up nearly 30 points per game, finishing among the top six in the NFL for the third consecutive season.
“I know like, deep down inside, he's going to look himself in the mirror and say, ‘What do I need to do better to get that job next year?’ Or whatever the case may be,” Hill said. “He's that type of dude, he wants to get better. He wants to be a head coach. His time will come. I feel like everything happens for a reason.”
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