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Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: Former OC Eric Bieniemy’s visit before AFC title game ramped up intensity

Patrick Mahomes, Eric Bieniemy
Posted at 12:50 PM, Feb 07, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Bieniemy is unemployed after new Washington Commanders coach Dan Quinn opted not to keep the former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator on his new staff.

But even before his ouster was official, Bieniemy had returned as a sort of locker-room prodigal son to the Chiefs.

“He actually came in and talked to our team before our last game,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said Wednesday during a news conference in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl LVIII. He talked to the offensive guys and hung out in our meetings.”

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Bieniemy’s appearance inspired the squad.

“It’s always great to have EB in the building — just being there, the energy that he brings and the mentality that he brings, you can feel,” Mahomes said. “He has that intensity, but he loves it — he loves being there, he loves being a part of the team and he loves being part of that culture.”

Mahomes said it was “really cool” to have the former offensive coordinator address the team before its 17-10 stunner at Baltimore clinched a fourth Super Bowl in five seasons, with the previous three coming with Bieniemy as the OC.

“I think guys had a little bit of chill bumps, like, ‘Hey, EB’s back here,’” Mahomes said. “Obviously, he didn’t get that head-coaching opportunity, but I’m excited for him to continue to coach football and continue to make an impact on the game”

Bieniemy’s coaching career became a flashpoint for those critical of the NFL’s hiring track record with respect to Black men as head coaches and general managers.

With the Chiefs, he oversaw one of the most-potent offenses in the NFL and interviewed with more than a dozen teams for vacancies but never landed a head-coaching gig.

That led Bieniemy to leave the long shadow Reid casts in Kansas City for Washington, where he served as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator under Ron Rivera.

Rivera’s firing left Bieniemy — whose Commanders offense ranked 18th in passing yards, 24th in total yards and yards per play, 27th in rushing yards, 26th in expected points and 28th in scoring percentage last season — in limbo before Quinn decided to hire Kliff Kingsbury as his replacement.

Could a long-term reunion with the Chiefs — who finished sixth in passing yards, ninth in total yards and yards per play, 10th in scoring percentage and expected points and 19th in rushing yards under returning offensive coordinator Matt Nagy — be in the offing?

“I can’t answer the last part, because I have no spots right now,” Reid said. “But I would tell you I think his coaching future is great. I’m obviously a big fan of his and I know the things that he can do.”