As NFL teams who fired former coaches are in the middle of hiring new ones right now, it’s become a big talking point that Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who is Black, hasn’t received a lot of interest despite being considered a top candidate for a few years now.
On Thursday, a podcast was published featuring Yahoo’s Terez Paylor with former University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith, who played for the Chiefs from 2013-2017 (Bieniemy was Kansas City’s running backs coach in those years before becoming offensive coordinator in 2018). In it, Smith promoted Bieniemy, saying he’s ready to become a head coach.
“I think it’s ridiculous that he hasn’t been hired yet,” Smith said.
Smith, who now plays for the Washington Football Team, acknowledged that the hiring process is “weird” for coaches whose teams are still in the playoffs (the Chiefs won the Super Bowl last year and will play the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday), but still feels Bieniemy should be garnering more interest.
It has been reported that Bieniemy has interviewed with the Houston Texans for their head coach opening.
“I think Eric’s No. 1 quality, and it was apparent from the first day I met him, was his leadership,” Smith said. “Leadership ability, a true leader of men. He was a guy who had played for a long time, was a great teacher, commanded respect because he gave respect also.”
Smith said Bieniemy also always brought great energy, and he’s been involved in all facets on the offensive coaching staff in Kansas City.
“I don’t see how you could be more ready,” Smith said.