Former Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil gave Andy Reid one word of advice about taking the job in Kansas City.
“Go,” Vermeil said.
Vermeil, who lives in Philadelphia, speaks to Reid on a regular basis, including earlier this week before a contingent of Chiefs executives, led by chairman Clark Hunt, interviewed Reid for nine hours on Wednesday.
Negotiations were continuing on Thursday, and as of late in the afternoon, Vermeil had not heard if Reid and the Chiefs closed the deal.
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Vermeil said there were several factors in why Reid was interested in the Chiefs, even when Arizona and San Diego had hoped to interview him.
“He’s coached at the University of Missouri,” Vermeil said of Reid’s three-year stint as on offensive line coach for the Tigers during 1989-91, “he’s been in middle America before and knows what the people are like. He knows how I feel about it. He’s been in that stadium. He kicked my rear when we were ahead 18-0 and he knows how the fans are there, and how that Arrowhead Stadium is when it’s full.
“And he knows the great respect and admiration people in the NFL have for the Hunt family, so why not go? There are no negatives.”
One negative is the shaky state of the quarterback position in Kansas City.
“You can’t have everything,” Vermeil said. “I’d rather have a great owner and no quarterback than a quarterback and not a great owner. They have a couple of quarterbacks (Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn) who have played well before, and maybe they’ll play well again. Sometimes schemes fit quarterbacks better than other schemes.
“This year took a guy out of college, for criminy sakes, (Nick Foles), a third-round draft choice, and he plays pretty darn well.”
Vermeil is confident that Reid, 54, can turn the Chiefs around.
“He’s been doing it for 14 years,” Vermeil said. “He finished on a downswing, but a lot of those things the injury factor were part of the problem. The mistakes he’s made, if he has made any, he’ll know how to correct them. And he’s always had a great offensive football team, and when he’s had a real good defensive coordinator, he’s always had a good defensive team.
“When you’ve gone to five NFC championship games, you’ve done a hell of a job.”
Reid would be the third former Eagles coach or player to coach the Chiefs, following Vermeil (2001-05) and Herm Edwards (2006-08). Vermeil spent 1976-82 with the Eagles and took them to the Super Bowl following the 1980 season.
“You’ve got the best one,” Vermeil said of Reid. “He’s a great person and a great coach. I think he’ll fit in perfectly within that environment, within the community, and he’ll fit in the organization. I just don’t think you can do any better.”
Vermeil said Reid did not ask him about how he thought he could co-exist with Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli.