Fresh Start: Reid and Chiefs agree to 5-year deal

By DAVE SKRETTA - AP Sports Writer
    2013-01-05 03:01

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Andy Reid didn't have to wait long to find a fresh start.

The longtime coach of the Eagles landed in Kansas City on Friday, signing a contract with the Chiefs just four days after he was fired by Philadelphia following 14 mostly successful seasons.

Reid's contract is for five years, a person familiar with the terms told The Associated Press. Reid also began to assemble his coaching staff, the person said on condition of anonymity because those details were not made public.

The Chiefs have scheduled an introductory news conference for Monday.

Reid's agreement was finalized shortly after the Chiefs parted ways with general manager Scott Pioli, whose four tumultuous seasons ended with a brief statement issued by the team.

It's expected that Reid will pursue longtime Packers personnel man John Dorsey or former Browns GM Tom Heckert - or perhaps both of them - to work with him in the front office.

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.

``Overall the job is still attractive,'' Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt told the AP earlier this week. ``The franchise remains very well respected.''

Hunt promised to be thorough and efficient in finding a replacement for Romeo Crennel, who was fired Monday after one full season. The Chiefs interviewed Atlanta assistants Dirk Koetter and Keith Armstrong on Tuesday before flying to Philadelphia and meeting with Reid.

Nine hours of negotiations Wednesday went well enough that Reid called off interviews in Arizona and San Diego, and the two sides continued working out details Thursday.

When news broke that Pioli was out, Reid's agreement quickly followed.

Neither the Chiefs nor Reid issued a statement Friday - the team posted a short video that mentioned the hiring - but Eagles chief executive Jeffrey Lurie offered his ``congratulations to Clark Hunt for hiring a good man and a good coach.''

``Congrats Big Red on taking your talents to KC,'' former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb tweeted. ``Big Red fans get ready to cheer on your new boss and new team from 2013 and on.''

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.

Reid will be getting a fresh start after enduring a difficult season on the field and away from it. His oldest son, Garrett, died during training camp after a battle with drug addiction, and then the Eagles - expected to contend for a division title - scuffled to a 4-12 finish.

Reid was fired by Lurie on Monday.

Long considered one of the NFL's bright offensive minds, Reid had a record of 130-93-1 in Philadelphia. He took a team that was 3-13 the year before his arrival and, in the space of 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 to find a coach who would bring stability to the franchise.

That's a big reason why Hunt decided to change the Chiefs' organizational structure, with the coach and general manager now 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 the 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 of the 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 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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