Speaking on Brandon Marshall’s “I Am Athlete Tonight” SiriusXM program on Wednesday, former Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy said that differences between himself and Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy are the reason he did not return to the team after its 2019 Super Bowl-winning campaign — and that despite numerous head-coaching interviews in recent years, Bieniemy’s coaching style is the reason he has not been selected to lead an NFL team.
“I’m going to say this,” McCoy said. “There’s a reason why every year they hype him up to get a coaching job — head coach or offensive coordinator job — somewhere else and he don’t get one.”
McCoy said that Bieniemy’s personal style grates on some players, himself included.
“Some players, he talks to them a certain way — and some players will take it,” said the retired two-time All-Pro. “I wouldn’t take it — like, ‘Whoa.’
“Some questions I would ask, everybody is accountable. That’s why he’s not. Because he’s is a Black coach? That’s not the reason. The reason is ... I won’t get into that.”
Pressed for an explanation, McCoy relented.
“There is a reason why that every year, they have him up to get a job — and then when the time comes, nobody hires him because they know the type of coach he really is.”
Asked whether this was why he didn’t return for another season with the Chiefs, McCoy pulled no punches.
“Yeah, that’s exactly what it was,” he said.
While reacting to McCoy’s comments during his press conference on Thursday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid didn’t seem surprised.
“Sometimes it’s hard on a veteran player,” he noted. “Maybe their performance level isn’t what it used to be — and it's hard to take [criticism] sometimes. [Bieniemy’s] going to push you to try to maximize what you’ve got. That’s one of his strengths.
“He’s no different than he is with you guys. He’ll come in and shoot you straight. Sometimes you want to hear it. Sometimes you don’t.”
But Reid — who is never interested in escalating a war of words — then made a point of saying how much he respects McCoy.
“I’m a big LeSean fan,” said Reid. “In my eyes, he’s a future Hall-of-Fame running back. If you look at it statistically, he’s tremendous. But he wasn’t the youngest pup in the kennel here. He was on the back side [of his career] — and sometimes that’s hard to take.”
Reid then continued to back his offensive coordinator.
“You’ve been here,” he told the assembled reporters. “You’ve seen how he [Bieniemy] does. You see the love that the players have for him; he’s got all these guys standing up for him and saying positive things.”
And during the period he was a member of the team, McCoy was one of those players.
“He’s one of the best running backs coaches in the league,” he told reporters in the lead up to Super Bowl LIV, per NJ.com.
At the time, McCoy said that he believed Bieniemy would eventually get an NFL head-coaching job.
“I think a lot of coaches have been getting hired because of coach Reid and that’s how it usually works,” he said. “It’s a copycat league. You want winners, and you go from a winning tree, so if you start with [New England Patriots head coach Bill] Belichick, a lot of coaches get hired from his tree. And then Coach Reid… it’s just matter of the right timing.
“It’s time for him. You keep hearing his name come up. Usually where there’s some smoke, there’s some fire. I think eventually he’ll get a job.”
Which statements represent McCoy’s real view on Bieniemy? It’s impossible to say. But now, his opposing viewpoints are both out there.
And so are Reid’s parting words on Bieniemy.
“He’s a heckuva football coach,” insisted the head coach. “I’m disappointed that he hasn’t had a chance. Optimistically, he’s going to have one in the future.”