Throughout the Browns' search for a new head coach, ClevelandBrowns.com will break down the candidates as they go through the interview process with the team. We continue with a look at Eric Bieniemy, the current offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs.
1) After earning All-America honors as a senior at Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California, Bieniemy went on to star at the University of Colorado. He was the nation's second leading rusher in 1990 with 1,628 yards, paired with 17 touchdowns, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist as well. He is still the Buffaloes' all-time leader in rushing yards (3,940), all-purpose yards (4,351), and touchdowns (42).
2) Taken in the second round by the San Diego Chargers in the 1991 NFL Draft, Bieniemy would go on to spend nine seasons in the league with the Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles as a running back, kick returner and punt returner. His game became a bit more multifaceted when he arrived in the "Queen City," averaging 33 catches per season in his four seasons with the Bengals. After retiring, he would go on to be the running backs coach at Colorado, helping the program win the Big 12 championship in 2001. He then made stops as a running backs coach at UCLA and the Minnesota Vikings, working with high-profile backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson along the way. Upon his arrival to the Chiefs, he guided Jamaal Charles to a career-high 12 touchdowns and more than 1,200 yards on the ground in 2013.
3) Browns RB Kareem Hunt worked closely with Bieniemy and saw his numbers go sky high during his time with him in Kansas City. Bieniemy has been with the Chiefs since 2013 and was their running backs coach until 2018, when Matt Nagy left the Chiefs offensive coordinator role to take over as head coach of the Chicago Bears. Hunt led the league in rushing in 2017 with 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns. He racked up 455 receiving yards with three scores through the air that year.
4) Hunt wasn't the only one in red, yellow and white to see their numbers get a boost with the help of Bieniemy. Even though his time as a player was dedicated to the running game, he has recognized the changes the game has undergone throughout the years and has adapted his coaching style accordingly. During his tenure as the Chiefs' offensive coordinator, Kansas City saw its offense lead the league in both yards per game (425.5) and points per game (35.3) in 2018 thanks in part to the talent of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and a wide receiving corps led by Tyreek Hill and his 1,479 receiving yards. Despite injuries this season, the Chiefs have still remained a top-five team in both passing yards per game (281.1) and points per game (28.2). "If you know anything about me and what I did at Colorado as the offensive coordinator, people would be shocked and surprised," Bieniemy told Yahoo Sports’ Terez Paylor. "People look at me sideways because I'm a running back, and they think I always want to run the ball. No. I understand the importance of the passing game and I understand the importance of making sure we're pushing the ball down the field."
5) It goes without saying how impressive the Andy Reid coaching tree is at this point. An SI.com profile from 2018 details his branches throughout the league in the form of Baltimore's John Harbaugh, Philadelphia's Doug Pederson, Washington's Ron Rivera, Nagy and several others. "I look for good teachers and good people, and so normally that's a foundation for a good head coach down the road," Reid told SI.com. "Normally, good teachers and good people are decent leaders, so they can do all that stuff. They can communicate, they're good with others, all of that." Reid has been in the league as a coach since 1992 and has served as a head coach since 1999, when he was at the helm of the Eagles until 2012 before his current role with the Chiefs. Bieniemy and Reid have helped the Chiefs reach the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons. Their 12-4 record earned them an opening-weekend bye as they await their divisional round opponent Jan. 12.