The Texans are indulging at least one Deshaun Watson request.
A source told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero on Tuesday that Houston has officially requested an interview with Eric Bieniemy amid earlier reports they would not consider the Chiefs offensive coordinator for their head coaching vacancy.
The interview request comes amid rampant rumors of internal tension between Watson and the front office and an ESPN report that Watson would consider a trade to the Dolphins. Owner Cal McNair promised to include the 25-year-old Pro Bowler in the search for a new head coach and general manager after an unceremonious midseason divorce with former head coach and de facto general manager Bill O’Brien.
Watson — who signed a four-year, $156 million contract extension in September — had personally advocated for the team to interview Bieniemy, a request that was seemingly ignored initially. He was not consulted in the hiring of Nick Caserio for the Texans’ GM role either which sparked further frustration, with which retired Texans receiver Andre Johnson empathizes.
“If I’m @deshaunwatson I will stand my ground,” Johnson wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothing good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can’t seem to see what’s going on. Pathetic!!!”
Bienemy’s name has come up in previous head coaching searches, but has gained significant traction this cycle. He has been viewed as integral in the development of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has given his OC glowing endorsements on multiple occasions.
“[Bieniemy’s] track record speaks for itself,” the reigning Super Bowl MVP told KCSP 610 on Monday. “The type of man he is, the way he can control and be a leader of the locker room and the way that he coaches and schemes he brings to us. If he doesn’t [get a head coaching job], people are crazy.”
The Texans are the sixth of the seven teams with head coaching openings to request an interview with Bieniemy: The Falcons, Lions, Jaguars and Jets have already interviewed him, and the Chargers have requested an interview. The Eagles, whose head coaching post just opened up after the ousting of Doug Pederson on Monday, are expected to consider Bieniemy as well.
Houston (and presumably Philadelphia) will have to wait their turn, however, after missing out on the initial window to set up an interview due to league rules.
“Houston will have to wait: Based on the anti-tampering policy, the initial interview window for Eric Bieniemy closed Sunday, so the #Texans aren’t permitted to interview him until the #Chiefs lose or after the Super Bowl, whichever comes first,” Pelissero wrote in a quote-tweet of his original report.
The top-seeded Chiefs will play the Browns in the AFC divisional round on Sunday at 3:05 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.