KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Eric Bieniemy was a free-agent operating again in 1999, he had some comparatively profitable contract provides with different groups. He as a substitute signed a deal for the minimal wage with the Philadelphia Eagles so he might play for his or her new head coach, an obscure former assistant by the title of Andy Reid.
Reid had this fashion of creating Bieniemy, at that time of his profession principally a special-teams participant, really feel on his free-agent go to that he could be a valued a part of what the coach was attempting to construct.
“Once I went on that journey and I visited the Philadelphia Eagles, I felt at residence,” stated Bieniemy, who would play one season for Reid after which return to educate for him years later with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I felt part of one thing. I felt part of the constructing block that was essential to assist them to begin it off. I used to be part of a basis that Coach wished to put.”
Reid has been making gamers really feel that approach for his total profession — from stars like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to these on the backside of the roster, as Bieniemy was greater than 20 years in the past.
Greater than every other cause, that is why gamers virtually universally love working for the 62-year-old Reid.
“I can not keep in mind anybody who did not like taking part in for him, and I can not think about why anybody would not like taking part in for him,” stated Geoff Schwartz, a Chiefs offensive lineman in 2013, Reid’s first season in Kansas Metropolis. “He is all the things you need in a coach.”
Certainly, it is easy to seek out gamers who’ve good issues to say about their expertise with Reid. Choose a participant, present or former, and the probabilities are overwhelming he’ll have a constructive story or anecdote.
“It is no secret what Coach Reid does,” Kelce stated. “He places guys in numerous positions on the sphere to succeed and maximizes their strengths, which is why he is such an unbelievable offensive thoughts.
“You may have enjoyable with it.”
Through the offseason, the Chiefs re-signed a number of prime gamers, together with Mahomes, Kelce and Chris Jones. Additionally they retained some lesser ones, equivalent to backup quarterback Chad Henne.
The Chiefs had a lot to supply, together with cash and the prospect for added Tremendous Bowl championships. However Reid gave the impression to be an equal draw.
“He had no ideas of retirement any time quickly,” Mahomes stated of Reid whereas discussing why he re-signed with the Chiefs. “Clearly, that is an enormous a part of it.”
‘We trusted him proper from the beginning’
It is not stunning ability gamers like working for Reid. Mahomes had the NFL’s second 50-touchdown, 5,000-yard season with the Chiefs in 2018. Kelce is the primary tight finish in league historical past to have 4 straight 1,000-yard seasons.
However the place group that appears to encourage essentially the most devotion towards Reid is offensive line. Reid was a lineman in faculty at Brigham Younger.
Every Friday through the season, the linemen get to play large receiver. They start observe with a drill wherein they get to catch passes.
“Beginning off observe like that could be a little little bit of a reward for working our butts off for the final two days,” deal with Eric Fisher stated. “It simply will get us in a great mindset to shine all the particulars.
“It is a enjoyable interval for us.”
Finally, although, play has to cease and work should start. Schwartz stated the 15-play script that Reid makes use of to start video games is usually crafted with offensive linemen in thoughts.
“There have been at all times some runs and a few screens and a few reverses and a few bootlegs, simply lots of methods to begin the sport off by serving to his offensive line,” Schwartz stated. “I at all times liked that. We at all times began video games with performs that benefited us, helped us get higher, helped us get right into a rhythm.”
Reid joined the Chiefs in 2013 after that they had simply gone by means of probably the most brutal stretches in workforce historical past. That they had received not more than 4 video games in 4 of six seasons, together with a 2-14 report in 2012.
The Chiefs had some gifted gamers, however little path. Reid was going to wish some buy-in from the gamers to show the workforce round shortly.
“You possibly can’t actually hearken to a coach or purchase in to a coach until you belief all the things he is saying,” former linebacker Derrick Johnson stated. “We trusted him proper from the beginning. Andy is a straight shooter. He did all the things he informed us he would do. That is what everyone liked.”
However the gamers discovered Reid did not ask with out giving in return. Living proof: his first Chiefs coaching camp in 2013.
“He informed us that coaching camp was going to be powerful,” Schwartz stated. “And he was proper. It was exhausting. We hit rather a lot. However he stated that if we dedicated to him for 3 hours of observe within the morning, he would hook us up the remainder of the day. And he did. We had walk-throughs within the afternoon, they usually had been actually walk-throughs. I have been locations the place that wasn’t actually the case.
“The issues he informed us, he did for us.”
Reid stated: “You possibly can’t be within the job I am in and never be actual for so long as I have been doing it. I feel that finally ends up being essential to the blokes. I am not going to be in every single place with them. I will attempt to shoot them straight with what I see, proper or unsuitable. I’ve obtained a few years’ expertise with all this grey hair.
“When it is all stated and completed, gamers wish to be coached. They wish to maximize their capability. I’ve discovered that from some nice gamers. They simply wished you to provide them yet one more factor to make them higher.”
Reid established a gamers’ management committee consisting of 1 member from every place group as a approach for gamers to air their issues.
“Each time we began that assembly, the very first thing he would say is, ‘All proper, what gripes do you will have?'” Johnson stated. “He would not need guys complaining within the locker room about this and that, like practices being too lengthy or the meals within the cafeteria not being good. So he would say, ‘Inform me all of the stuff like that and I will repair it.’ He would not need us to have any excuses for not getting it proper on Sunday. He desires to remove all of the distractions.”
One time, Johnson stated, the gamers complained they had been hitting an excessive amount of in observe.
“Andy likes lengthy practices,” Johnson stated. “He is old-school. He runs lots of performs. However we talked to him one time about desirous to take the pads off rather a lot at observe. We felt we did not have to put on them as typically as we did or do as a lot hitting as we did. He stated, ‘OK, obtained it. The rest?’ It was that fast.
“Many of the issues we dropped at him, he trusted identical to that.”
‘You deal with individuals like they’re individuals’
Reid is a gamers’ coach for different causes. He is hardly ever essential of a participant in public, as a substitute often taking the blame himself for placing gamers in a nasty spot.
That is ironic as a result of gamers say one of many causes they like working for Reid is he performs to their strengths.
“Coach Reid places guys in place to achieve success and do what they do nicely somewhat than attempting to suit everyone right into a field,” stated Greg Lewis, who performed for Reid with the Eagles and is now the Chiefs’ large receivers coach. “He offers you alternatives. In case your energy is pace, he places you in place to make the most of your pace. In case your energy is obstructing or doing one thing of that nature, he places you in these positions somewhat than attempt to fit your needs right into a field of one thing you are not. He is in a position to mesh all these various kinds of ability units collectively so seamlessly.”
By all accounts, Reid is not a yeller or screamer. Former gamers keep in mind him hardly ever getting mad, maybe as soon as per season.
“He’d make faces, groan, possibly chew his lip, say ‘Gosh darn it,'” former offensive lineman Jeff Allen stated. “That is while you knew he wasn’t blissful. However that is about so far as he would go and it took rather a lot for him to get to that edge.”
Johnson stated: “Andy is often a peaceful speaker. When he begins speaking quick, that is when it is time to choose it up. When you do not, the following time he isn’t going to be calm or speaking quick. He will be yelling.”
That does not imply self-discipline is unimportant to Reid. He simply finds a distinct approach.
“Human nature says if you happen to maintain yelling at any individual, [he’s] going to show you off,” Reid stated. “The outdated saying, ‘Do unto others as you need completed to you,’ I sort of try this. However on the similar time I am able the place in case your biorhythms are down, I will crank them again up for you. There is a time and a spot for all the things. I feel staying constructive and being actual and sincere with the blokes might be most essential. I feel it’s with most people.
“I consider in self-discipline. There are specific belongings you simply want on this sport. … However on the similar time, I consider you deal with individuals like they’re individuals. I’ve completed that since I have been within the enterprise. That half hasn’t modified.”
Schwartz stated: “He does a great job of connecting with gamers. He treats you want an grownup. You place the work in and he treats you with respect. He expects you do to your job and he treats you as if you are able to do that. He is not going to micromanage your entire day. He positively micromanages how he teaches the offense. However he is simply not in your small business the entire day.
“Earlier than the sport, we did not see the coaches within the locker room. They arrive in proper earlier than the sport to speak to us however we would get to the stadium two or three hours earlier than the sport and he isn’t in your approach, no different coaches are in your approach. I’ve had groups with coaches that are available in an hour earlier than the sport they usually’ll be, ‘Hey, now, I used to be watching movie final night time and I noticed this bizarre play [from the day’s opponent] on movie from seven years in the past so simply be looking out for that.’ Properly, it is recreation day. We had all week to prepare for that. We simply wished to be left alone to organize for the sport.
“He gave us house once we wanted it. That performs into why everybody likes Andy Reid and the way straightforward it’s to play for a man like that. Since you respect him and he respects you, you do not wish to let him down.”
Reid ‘undefeated’ relating to meals
Chiefs coach Andy Reid reveals how a cheeseburger and a water cooler helped him have fun profitable his first Tremendous Bowl in fashion.
Schwartz and others described their relationships with Reid extra as peer-to-peer somewhat than player-to-coach. Gamers sometimes go to Reid for private recommendation. One participant as soon as requested Reid which kind of automobile he can purchase.
One other approach Reid reaches his gamers is thru his love of meals. That resonates together with his gamers, notably the bigger ones.
Reid in his first 12 months with the Chiefs returned to educate his new workforce towards his former one. After teaching the Eagles for 14 seasons, Reid knew slightly concerning the native delicacies. He ordered out for the entire workforce the night time earlier than the sport, the unfold together with native delicacies like cheesesteaks and crab fries.
“You possibly can at all times get a Kansas Metropolis restaurant advice from him,” Allen stated. “Any time. And so they had been good ones. He was undefeated there.”
Reid would sometimes supply the gamers recommendation about what time of day was finest at numerous Kansas Metropolis barbecue eating places to get burnt ends, these being a delicacy round city regardless of their unappetizing title.
“He was like, ‘4 o’clock at Jack Stack, 5 o’clock at Joe’s,'” stated Schwartz, naming a few well-liked locations in Kansas Metropolis. “He appreciated to eat. It was a part of his approach to relate to us. Nevertheless it did not come off as pretend. He did not come off as one thing aside from who he was and that is one thing all of us appreciated.
“Most coaches, it is exhausting to have conversations with them. It simply felt like you possibly can at all times have a dialog with Andy.”
“He was like ‘4 o’clock at Jack Stack, 5 o’clock at Joe’s.’ He appreciated to eat. It was a part of his approach to relate to us. Nevertheless it did not come off as pretend. He did not come off as one thing aside from who he was and that is one thing all of us appreciated.”
Geoff Schwartz on Andy Reid’s capability to seek out burnt ends and relate to his gamers
Reid’s relationships generally lengthen past a participant’s time with the Chiefs. Allen performed three seasons for Reid with the Chiefs earlier than signing a free-agent contract with Houston.
Allen stated the primary particular person he heard from after an damage knocked him out of the Texans’ lineup was Reid.
Allen later returned to play with the Chiefs in components of two seasons earlier than retiring.
“We had conversations that had been outdoors of soccer, about the place I used to be personally,” Allen stated. “Earlier than I made a decision to retire, we had a dialog about it. We sat down and talked about what was finest for me and he supported me on that. I felt I might nonetheless play, however there have been issues in my life — accidents, life at residence, my future.
“You do not get his repute simply by being a great soccer coach. You additionally get it by being a great particular person.”
Allen then completed by summing up what many gamers really feel about Reid.
“You do not really feel such as you’re taking part in for Andy Reid,” he stated. “You are feeling such as you’re taking part in with him.”