Eric Bieniemy with 1 NFL opening left in Houston: 'Yes, I do want to be a head coach'

Jason Owens
·3 min read

For a third straight season, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has been touted as a red-hot NFL head coaching candidate.

For a third straight season, teams with openings have lined up to interview Bieniemy. For a third straight season, Bieniemy has watched as often less-credentialed white candidates secure coaching gigs.

One head coach opening remains. It belongs to the Houston Texans. It marks Bieniemy’s last chance to land a head coaching job for the 2021 season.

Bieniemy ‘obviously’ wants to be a head coach

With openings being filled all around him again, Bieniemy on Thursday reiterated the obvious. He wants to be a head coach.

“It’s always good to be mentioned and have an opportunity to pursue your dreams,” Bieniemy told reporters. “And obviously, yes, I do want to be a head coach.”

“But when it’s all said and done with, my job is to make sure everything that we’re doing right now is not to take away from the goals we’re trying to accomplish.

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 29:  Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy watches the action on the field during a regular season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Detroit Lions on September 29, 2019 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Will the Texans hire Eric Bieniemy? If they do, can they salvage their relationship with Deshaun Watson? (Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Will Texans offer Bieniemy the job?

So will the Texans grant him the opportunity, or will the Chiefs start a fourth straight season in 2021 with the ultimate luxury of Bieniemy as their offensive coordinator?

The Texans opening is filled with intrigue. It also seemed the least likely landing spot for Bieniemy with the Texans reportedly initially declining to interview him. Quarterback Deshaun Watson reportedly endorsed Bieniemy for the job and was irked when Texans management didn’t initially interview him — among other reasons.

The decision was part of an escalating rift between Watson and the Texans that some believe is beyond repair.

The Texans have since changed their minds and interviewed the Chiefs’ coordinator. And according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, there’s growing support in the embattled Texans front office in favor of hiring him.

Would Bieniemy help Texans save relationship with Deshaun Watson?

So will they? If they do, will it help salvage their relationship with their franchise quarterback? The answer to those questions is obviously unclear.

But the first step for the Texans would be to actually offer Bieniemy a job — a decision teams have repeatedly passed on while apparently paying lip service the NFL’s Rooney Rule mandates to consider minority candidates. White team owners have repeatedly shown great comfort in hiring coaches that look like them regardless of the NFL’s efforts to encourage qualified minority candidates.

Why is Bieniemy still on the market?

This season, Robert Saleh is the only non-white candidate hired among six filled head coaching openings, joining the New York Jets as just the fourth minority NFL coach among 32 teams alongside Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Miami’s Brian Flores and Washington’s Ron Rivera.

There’s no apparent knock against Bieniemy as a potential head coach. If there is, nobody is reporting it. Meanwhile, players, fellow coaches and NFL analysts are largely in agreement that Bieniemy is a prime candidate.

The Texans — who have bungled more transactions than perhaps any other NFL team in recent years — have a chance to get a big one right. Will they take it?

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