Reid arrives in KC, nears coaching deal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City on Friday, and the Chiefs are close to making an official announcement that he will become their next coach.
Reid and the Chiefs have reportedly agreed to a deal giving the longtime Eagles coach broad authority over football decisions. His deal came hours after the Chiefs announced they had parted with general manager Scott Pioli after four tumultuous seasons.
Reid inherits a team that went 2-14, matching the worst record in franchise history. But he’ll also have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, and with five players voted to the Pro Bowl, Kansas City has building blocks in place to make a quick turnaround.
While Reid will have authority in personnel decisions, it’s expected that he will pursue longtime Packers personnel man John Dorsey to work with him as general manager.
Reid takes over for Romeo Crennel, who was fired Monday after one full season.
The Chiefs first interviewed Reid for about nine hours in Philadelphia on Wednesday, and then spent much of Thursday working out the details before coming to an agreement.
The addition of Reid and the departure of Pioli should help to stabilize a team that was expected to contend for the AFC West title but instead floundered all season.
Reid has experience turning around franchises, too.
He took over a team in Philadelphia that was just 3-13, but two years later went 11-5 and finished second in the NFC East. That began a stretch of five straight years in which Reid won at least 11 games and included a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2004 season.
During his tenure, the Eagles made nine playoff appearances, while Kansas City made three, and won 10 playoff games – something the Chiefs haven’t done since 1993. Meanwhile, the Chiefs cycled through five head coaches and are now on their third in three years.
“Overall the job is still attractive,” said Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, who led the search for Crennel’s replacement. “The franchise remains very well respected.”
The fresh start afforded by the Chiefs should be welcomed by Reid.
Despite a 130-93-1 record and the most wins in Eagles history, he was just 12-20 the past two seasons. Reid also dealt with personal tragedy when his oldest son, Garrett, died during training camp after a long battle with drug addiction.
Reid will have more authority in Kansas City than any previous coach.
Hunt told The Associated Press this week that he was changing the Chiefs’ organizational structure so that the coach and general manager report directly to him. Since his late father Lamar founded the team 53 years ago, the coach typically reported to the general manager.
The Chiefs issued a statement Friday that said they had “mutually parted ways” with Pioli after a four-year tenure marked by poor draft choices, ineffective free-agent moves, his own failed coaching hires and a growing fan rebellion.
“The bottom line is that I did not accomplish all of what I set out to do,” Pioli said. “To the Hunt family – to the great fans of the Kansas City Chiefs – to the players, all employees and alumni, I truly apologize for not getting the job done.”
Most of the Chiefs’ top stars were drafted by Pioli’s predecessor, Carl Peterson. The former Patriots executive struggled to find impact players, particularly at quarterback, while cycling through coaches and fostering a climate of dread within the entire organization.
Numerous longtime staff members were fired upon Pioli’s arrival, and his inability to connect with fans resulted in unprecedented unrest. Some fans even paid for multiple banners to be towed behind planes before home games asking that he be fired.
On Dec. 1, linebacker Jovan Belcher shot the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, Kasandra Perkins, at a home not far from Arrowhead Stadium. Belcher then drove to the team’s practice facility and shot himself in the head as Pioli and Crennel watched in the parking lot.
Pioli hasn’t spoken publicly since the incident.
The three-time NFL executive of the year, all with New England, often spoke of putting together “the right 53,” but he failed to do so, and now it falls on Reid and his staff to finish the job.
The most glaring position of need is quarterback.
Matt Cassel has two years left on a $63 million, six-year deal, but he played so poorly this season that he was benched in favor of Brady Quinn, who is now a free agent.
It’s expected that the Chiefs will pursue a veteran quarterback while also choosing one in the draft, giving Reid options in training camp. Reid has had success working with young quarterbacks, including Brett Favre in Green Bay and Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia.
Decisions will also have to be made about left tackle Branden Albert, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and even Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, all of whom can become free agents.
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