KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Andy Reid was in negotiations with the Kansas City Chiefs to become their next coach, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The two sides were working out details and Reid canceled plans to interview for other openings, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations.
The Philadelphia Eagles fired Reid after 14 seasons on Monday, the same day the Chiefs parted ways with coach Romeo Crennel after the worst season in franchise history.
The Chiefs have a connection with Reid through team president Mark Donovan, who spent six years as the Eagles’ senior vice president of business operations. Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt was joined by Donovan and several members of his inner circle while interviewing Reid for nearly nine hours on Wednesday in Philadelphia.
The negotiations had progressed to the point that Reid canceled plans to interview for the opening in Arizona. The Cardinals are now intending to interview former Chiefs coach Todd Haley, a person familiar with their plans told the AP on condition of anonymity. Haley led the Chiefs to the AFC West title in 2010, but was fired in December 2011 and spent this past season as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.
Hunt told the AP in an interview Monday that he would lead the search for the next Chiefs coach, rather than embattled general manager Scott Pioli. Hunt has not said whether Pioli will be back next season, but indicated that his future could be determined by the next coach.
Various reports have indicated that Reid would be open to working with Pioli, while other reports have said he would prefer to build his own front office. If Pioli is not retained, the top candidates to replace him include former Browns GM Tom Heckert and John Dorsey, who has been integral in building the Green Bay Packers into a perennial contender.
The opening in Kansas City is attractive on several levels: The Chiefs had five Pro Bowl players and two others chosen as alternates, despite their 2-14 record, and they have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft for the first time in franchise history.
That selection could help the Chiefs fill a gaping void at quarterback.
Matt Cassel was benched midway through the season and Brady Quinn, who was playing on a one-year deal, struggled as his replacement. Reid has had success at developing quarterbacks in the past, working with Donovan McNabb — whom he helped draft with the No. 2 pick — during his time in Philadelphia and Brett Favre earlier in his career in Green Bay.
“What I am confident in is we’ll have dramatically better play from the quarterback position in 2013,” Hunt said. “I don’t know whether it’ll be the ultimate, long-term solution or not. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
Hunt refused to get into the details of his coaching search, a responsibility that he’d delegated to the general manager in the past. But Hunt did say that he had surrounded himself with the right “resources” to make a thorough, informed hiring.
The new coach will also report directly to Hunt, a departure from the previous 53 years of franchise history. The coach is also expected to have more say over personnel matters.
When asked to describe his ideal candidate, Hunt said: “Somebody who has demonstrated the ability to build a successful program, or been part of building a successful program. Somebody of high integrity, somebody who is a successful teacher and communicator. Somebody who has a high football IQ, but at the same time likes to roll up their sleeves and work hard.”
Reid appears to fit most of those qualifications.
The Eagles were just 12-20 the past two seasons, but Reid’s overall record of 130-93-1 represents the most wins in franchise history. The franchise was just 3-13 the year before he arrived, and two years later it went to the playoffs at 11-5 and second in the NFC East.
That was the first of five straight years in which the Eagles won at least 11 games, and included a trip to the Super Bowl after the 2004 season.
“He had the love and respect of every individual in this organization,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said upon firing him. “This man is amazing to work with, smart and dedicated, and the record will speak for itself.”
The past couple of years have been difficult for Reid, whose oldest son, Garrett, died at training camp after a long battle with drug addiction. Reid fired close friend and longtime assistant Juan Castillo in October and later fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
Now, it appears that Reid is about to get a fresh start.
“Overall the job is still attractive,” Hunt said of the Chiefs, who have not won a playoff game since 1993. “The franchise remains very well respected around the league.”