Andy Reid hopes Eric Bieniemy stays with the Chiefs, but the seventh-year Kansas City head coach will not blame his trusted offensive assistant if he leaves to become a head coach.
Reportedly linked to vacancies with the Giants and Carolina Panthers, Bieniemy's rise as offensive coordinator of the Chiefs has NFL teams interested -- and Reid understands why.
Talking to reporters Monday, Reid acknowledged the possibility that Bieniemy could leave Kansas City, but the offensive-minded Chiefs coach endorses the seventh-year assistant.
"You guys know how I feel about Eric," Reid said. "I think he'd be tremendous. There's a team out there -- I don't know the team, but there's a team out there -- that could really use him. Being the leader of men that he is, you're not going to find people better than that in that category. And he's a sharp offensive mind on top of that. So I'm a big fan. Don't want to lose him, but reality is, there's a good chance that happens."
The 50-year-old Bieniemy joined Reid's staff as running backs coach in 2013, making the jump back into the NFL after working at the college level as Colorado's offensive coordinator from 2011-12 under then-head coach Jon Embree.
Bieniemy spent 2006-10 as running backs coach of the Minnesota Vikings, previously holding the same position at the college level with UCLA (2003-05) and Colorado (2001-02).
Reid promoted Bieniemy to offensive coordinator in 2018 when the Chicago Bears hired Matt Nagy as head coach. Bieniemy was Reid's next man up after the Bears became the second team to poach the Chiefs' offensive coordinator, following the Philadelphia Eagles' hiring of Doug Pederson in 2016.
"I think it's a great opportunity," Reid said of Bieniemy as the AFC West-champion Chiefs (12-4) await Jan. 12's divisional-round playoff game. "They've worked so hard for the opportunity that I think it's a result of that with plenty of hard work to come. But all of them, to a man, has brought great energy to whatever organization they've gone into. And I'm proud of that. That's a tribute to the way we do things."
If the Giants -- who fired former head coach Pat Shumur after two years Monday -- consider Bieniemy, what would New York get in the man behind one of the NFL's top offenses over the past two seasons?
"This guy is a phenomenal coach is what they're looking at," Reid said. "And I think (all Chiefs players) would all stand on the table for him. ... They'd all stand up and tell you what he's all about. He's a leader of men. And they all (know) he's going to shoot you straight -- honest, honest, honest. And then they also know and respect his mind. I give him, every weekend, I sit down, we put together this game plan sheet with 200-plus plays on it and he memorizes every play, every formation, just -- boom -- on recall like that. And every week, I go, 'Listen, are you good with this?' And he goes, 'No problem. I've got it.' But a lot of hard work goes into it. Plus, he's a brilliant dude."
Star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was the 2018 NFL MVP as a first-year starter in Bieniemy's offense, echoed Reid's thoughts.
"When you get a guy like EB, who puts in the time, who is a great leader of players and men and somebody that can really control and have a presence in any room he walks in, you understand why these other teams are looking at him to be their head coach," said Mahomes, who has thrown for 9,128 yards and 76 touchdowns to 17 interceptions in 30 starts from 2018-19. "And so we obviously are focused on our goal right now, but we know, with who he is and how he operates, that he'll have the opportunities to go places and continue to have success."