KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Bieniemy didn’t bite.
Introduced Thursday as the Washington Commanders’ news assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, Bieniemy, who is Black, had ample opportunity to air any grievances over again failing to land an NFL head-coaching job.
He declined despite settling for what is widely viewed as a lateral move after 10 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, including the last five as the offensive coordinator.
The Chiefs’ offense never finished worse than sixth in scoring or total offense under Bieniemy, who interviewed at least 16 times with 15 teams, but it never led to a coveted promotion.
“Right now, I’m the offensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders,” Bieniemy said. “Being the head coach, that’s something — if that’s to happen, it‘ll take care of itself.”
It didn’t during his tenure in Kansas City, which coincided with Patrick Mahomes’ rise to become the league’s brightest star under future Hall of Fame coach Andy Reid.
The Chiefs hosted the AFC Championship Game every season with Bieniemy as offensive coordinator, winning three conference titles and two Super Bowls during that time.
Rather than dwell on what didn’t happen after the stretch, Bieniemy struck a grateful tone.
“It was an amazing 10 years having the opportunity to work for the Chiefs organization,” Bieniemy said.
Mahomes weighed in on social media, calling Bieniemy a great man/coach and crediting his leadership for helping shape him as a player/person.
"I cannot wait for him to continue to prove doubters wrong," Mahomes said via Twitter.
There should be no questions on how great of a man/coach Coach Bienemy is. His leadership has a direct impact on the player/person i am today! 10+ years learning under one of the greatest coaches of all time.. and i cannot wait for him to continue to prove doubters wrong! 💪🏽 https://t.co/hyCo3Bly9E— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) February 23, 2023
Bieniemy went on to thank the Hunt family, including Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, along with President Mark Donovan, General Manager Brett Veach “and, of course, Coach Reid.”
Bieniemy also thanked Commanders coach Ron Rivera for the chance to spread his wings.
“Now, it’s time for a new challenge,” Bieniemy said.
Away from Reid and Mahomes, there will be no doubt — for better or worse — that Washington’s offense belongs to Bieniemy.
He takes the reins of a Washington offense that ranked 20th in total yards and 24th in scoring last season.
“I have no doubt about what they are building here,” Bieniemy said, “... (and) I have never ever backed down from a challenge.”
Bieniemy will call plays for the Commanders’ offense.
“I’m fired up for it, bruh — fired up and excited,” Bieniemy said.
At the same time, Bieniemy asked for patience from the fan base in getting the offense to fire on all cylinders.
“One thing in this profession you learn, comfort is the enemy of progress,” Bieniemy said. When it’s all said and done with, I don’t like being comfortable. I’m about accepting challenges and moving forward. This presents a challenge to me.”
Bieniemy said he "knew it was time to move on" from Kansas City as he boarded a plane bound for Washington last week after the Chiefs Kingdom Champions Parade to celebrate the Super Bowl LVII champs.
“Did I have an idea that I would be leaving the Kansas City Chiefs? Yeah, I had an idea that I would be leaving,” Bieniemy said. “You always envision it in a different way, but I’ve been there for 10 years. I’ve accomplished a lot of things there. It was a great organization, it was a great time, it was a lot of family that has been made there. But now it’s about broadening my circles and expanding and getting to know my new family.
Bieniemy confirmed, with a smile, that his relationship with Reid wasn’t always filled with sunshine and rainbows.
“I can’t tell you how many times he’s threatened to fire me, because I’ve taken him to that point at times,” Bieniemy said.
But he also paid homage to Reid, who finished his playing career on Reid’s first Eagles team in 1999 and spent the last decade on his coaching staff.
“Coach Reid has had a huge impact on my career,” Bieniemy said. “Obviously, I had an opportunity to play for him, but he’s a consistent individual, he’s a creative mind. The thing that he’s done a great job of is getting me to see the big picture with everything. He was just an outstanding person and sometimes like a father figure you can go and talk to, but also he wore that head coach title for a reason.”