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As Sale Looms, Eric Bieniemy Introduced by Commanders

  • Bieniemy was introduced by the Commanders as their new assistant head coach, offensive coordinators.
  • Owner Dan Snyder appears to have played a limited role in luring Bieniemy away from Kansas City Chiefs.
Eric Bieniemy
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

ASHBURN, Virginia — Eric Bieniemy’s introductory news conference at Washington Commanders headquarters Thursday just felt different.

It wasn’t just the weather as temperatures trended toward the warmest day of the year here.  Bieniemy’s hire as the Commanders’ new offensive coordinator and assistant head coach was a factor. Still, it was also how his hire came about: owner Dan Snyder — one of the most hands-on owners in the last two decades — played a minimal role in Bieniemy’s hiring process.

“It was one of the questions that did come up,” Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said. “Mr. Snyder has been very supportive. We talked about certain things that we had to do with the coaching staff, and he was great about it. 

“I said, ‘Look, this may take a little bit longer. I want to interview Eric Bieniemy.’ He said, ‘Absolutely, as long as it takes.’”

The wait ended after Bieniemy secured his second Super Bowl victory as the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator earlier this month. In Washington, Bieniemy will have complete control of the offense, something he didn’t have under Andy Reid in Kansas City. 

“I have never ever backed down from a challenge,” Bieniemy said as he looked at several of his players sitting in the front row during the news conference. “I’m embracing this challenge. I’m fired up, I’m excited. I’m excited when it’s time to start talking ball with these guys to start getting the work. But when it’s all said and done with, why not Washington?” 

Neither Dan Snyder or his wife, co-CEO Tanya Snyder, attended the news conference.

For those gauging where the potential franchise sale was announced in November, Snyder allowing Rivera, general manager Martin Mayhew, and team president Jason Wright to lure Bieniemy away from the Chiefs shouldn’t be overlooked. Snyder reportedly didn’t attend the final two games of last season, as he’s spent more time in London in recent months. 

“Coach Rivera was the lead person in this hiring process,” Bieniemy said. “Obviously had an opportunity to spend time with Mr. Wright and Mr. Mayhew. When it’s all said and done with all that [ownership] stuff, that’s not my job.”

Since Wright’s arrival in August 2020, he said Snyder has “blessed us to do what we need to do.”  But Snyder didn’t even participate in any group interviews with team execs of Bieniemy, one source with knowledge of the situation told Front Office Sports.  

Candidates for the offensive coordinator job created when Scott Turner was fired on Jan. 10 did have questions about the ownership situation. 

“That’s part of what I had to answer for sure,” Wright said. “And that’s my job, right? I’m the closest to all that. I think. Eric, just like the rest of us, see the transition as one that’s good for the organization … There’s nothing but upside for the organization, and we’ve already had a lot of success in rebuilding the football side of the business from where we started when Ron took over.

“They’ve established a way of working, a consistent culture, both on the coaching staff and in the locker room. This is a chance to accelerate that.”

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