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Question of the Day
KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - Andy Reid pulled up to Arrowhead Stadium in a black SUV on Friday, stepped out of it wearing a dark suit and red tie, and walked briskly toward the doors of the Kansas City Chiefs‘ home.
His new home, as it turned out.
The longtime Eagles coach signed a five-year deal, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the terms of the contract.
The Chiefs have scheduled an introductory press conference for Monday.
Reid inherits a team that went 2-14, matching the worst record in franchise history. But he’ll also have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, and with five players voted to the Pro Bowl this season, Kansas City has building blocks in place to make a quick turnaround.
Hunt promised to be thorough and efficient in finding a replacement for Romeo Crennel, who was fired Monday after his first full season. The Chiefs interviewed Atlanta assistants Dirk Koetter and Keith Armstrong on Tuesday before flying to Philadelphia to meet with Reid.
Nine hours of negotiations on Wednesday went well enough that Reid called off interviews in Arizona and San Diego, and the two sides continued working out details on Thursday.
Reid arrived in Kansas City aboard a chartered jet Friday afternoon and drove with Hunt and other Chiefs officials to Arrowhead Stadium. He later visited the team’s training complex while the final details on his contract were being worked out.
The fresh start afforded by the Chiefs should be welcomed by Reid, who endured a difficult season on the field and an even more trying time away from it. Reid’s oldest son, Garrett, died during training camp after a long battle with drug addiction, and then the Eagles _ expected to contend for a division championship _ struggled to a 4-12 finish.
Long considered one of the NFL’s bright offensive minds, Reid had a record of 130-93-1 in 14 seasons in Philadelphia. He took a team that was 3-13 the year before his arrival and, in only two years, finished 11-5 and second in the NFC East. That began a stretch of five straight years in which Reid won at least 11 games, including one trip to the Super Bowl.
During his tenure, the Eagles made nine playoff appearances while Kansas City made three, and won 10 playoff games _ Kansas City hasn’t won any since 1993. Meanwhile, the Chiefs went through five head coaches and are now on their third in three years.
One of Hunt’s priorities was in finding a coach who would bring stability to the franchise.
That’s one of the reasons that Hunt decided to change the Chiefs‘ organizational structure, with the coach and general manager reporting directly to him. Since his late father Lamar Hunt founded the team 53 years ago, the coach typically reported to the general manager.
That was the way it was under Pioli, whose two coaching hires ended badly.
That alone wasn’t enough to force Pioli out, though. It was a combination of poor draft choices, ineffective free-agent moves and a growing fan rebellion that led the Chiefs to issue a statement Friday that said they had “mutually parted ways” with their general manager.
“There is no way to overstate the level of respect and admiration I have for Scott on a personal level,” Hunt said in a statement. “His character, loyalty, integrity and commitment to a team are extraordinary, and throughout the last four years, he has consistently put the best interests of the Chiefs ahead of his own.”
Still, those qualities failed to translate to success.
Most of the Chiefs‘ top stars were drafted by Pioli’s predecessor, Carl Peterson. The former Patriots executive struggled to find impact players, particularly at quarterback, while cycling through coaches and fostering a climate of dread within the entire organization.
Numerous longtime staff members were fired upon Pioli’s arrival, and his inability to connect with fans resulted in unprecedented unrest. Some fans even paid for multiple banners to be towed behind planes before home games asking that he be fired.
On Dec. 1, linebacker Jovan Belcher shot the mother of his 3-month-old daughter, Kasandra Perkins, at a home not far from Arrowhead Stadium. Belcher then drove to the team’s practice facility and shot himself in the head as Pioli and Crennel watched in the parking lot.
Pioli hasn’t spoken publicly since the incident.
“The bottom line is that I did not accomplish all of what I set out to do,” Pioli said in a statement released through by team. “To the Hunt family _ to the great fans of Kansas City _ to the players, all employees and alumni, I truly apologize for not getting the job done.”
The three-time NFL executive of the year often spoke of putting together “the right 53,” but he failed to do so, and now it falls on Reid and his staff to finish the job.
The most glaring position of need is quarterback.
Matt Cassel has two years left on a $63 million, six-year deal, but he played so poorly this season that he was benched in favor of Brady Quinn, who is now a free agent.
It’s expected that the Chiefs will pursue a veteran quarterback while also choosing one in the draft, giving Reid options in training camp. Reid has a history of success working with young quarterbacks, including Brett Favre in Green Bay and Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia.
Decisions will also have to be made about left tackle Branden Albert, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and even Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, all of whom can become free agents.
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
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