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Bieniemy’s case included in lawsuit alleging racism in NFL hiring processes

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Feb. 3—Over the last few seasons, one of the hottest names in the NFL coaching carousel has been Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.

Despite all the interest, Bieniemy remains with the Chiefs, and all signs point to him staying in Kansas City for an upcoming fifth season as offensive coordinator.

A few weeks ago, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he’s been surprised that Bieniemy hasn’t ended up with a head job.

“EB has had that the last couple years,” Reid said, “and it disappoints me that someone hasn’t hired him, obviously, because he’s so good.”

After another season, which saw just one interview with Denver, Bieniemy remains without a head coaching offer. With national focus on a lawsuit alleging racism in NFL head coach searches, Bieniemy’s case has come into the spotlight as one of the most glaring oversights by NFL front offices.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed the lawsuit Tuesday against the NFL and three franchises — the Dolphins, Giants and Broncos — alleging discrimination in the head coach hiring process.

Flores was fired as head coach of the Dolphins at the conclusion of the 2021 season, despite winning eight of the team’s last nine games and finishing with a winning record. He ended his three-season tenure with the Dolphins’ first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003.

Flores alleges that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross incentivized him for losing games to set the Dolphins up with a better draft position, offering $100,000 per loss.

After being fired this offseason, Flores alleges the Giants only set up an interview with him to fulfill the requirement of the NFL’s ‘Rooney Rule,’ which requires teams to interview one external minority candidate for any general manager or head coaching position.

His case with the Giants broke loose after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Flores’ former boss when Flores served on the Patriots’ staff for 11 seasons, mistakenly texted Flores that the Giants had already intended to hire Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll for their head coach opening before Flores’ official interview with the Giants.

Flores alleges having a similar experience when he interviewed for the Broncos’ head coach opening prior to taking the Dolphins job in 2019.

Bieniemy fits into the fold because Flores included the oversight of Bieniemy as an entire section in his 58-page lawsuit.

Flores lists all of Bieniemy’s accomplishments and qualifications for an NFL head coach job.

“Without question, Mr. Bieniemy has the pedigree, track record and reputation to make him a sought-after Head Coach,” the document states. “However, despite being interviewed for approximately 20 vacant positions over the last five years, no team has extended Mr. Bieniemy an offer.”

“During this time,” the document continues, “numerous white candidates who are clearly less qualified have taken over the Head Coach duties for numerous NFL teams.”

Bieniemy has not publicly commented on his inclusion in Flores’ lawsuit as of Wednesday night.

After interviewing for seven head coach openings in 2021, Bieniemy has only interviewed with the Broncos this cycle, and he was not named a finalist.

Speaking on his name continuing to come up in head coach searches a few weeks ago, Bieniemy said he just tries to stay focused on his role with the Chiefs.

“The thing about it, you don’t allow it to become a distraction because, first and foremost, I have a job,” Bieniemy said. “All of that stuff is going to take care of itself.”

Although Bieniemy has no more interviews scheduled, five NFL head coaching jobs remain open as of Wednesday night.

Jacob Lang can be reached at jacob.lang@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowLang.

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