Eric Bieniemy
refer to caption
Bieniemy with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021
No. 32, 21, 33
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1969-08-15) August 15, 1969 (age 54)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Height:5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight:205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Bishop Amat
(La Puente, California)
College:Colorado (1987–1990)
NFL draft:1991 / Round: 2 / Pick: 39
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As a player
As a coach
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts:387
Rushing yards:1,589
Rushing touchdowns:11
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Eric Bieniemy Jr. (bee-EN-uh-me;[1] born August 15, 1969) is an American football coach and former running back. He played college football for the Colorado Buffaloes and is their all-time leader in rushing yards (3,940) and touchdowns (42). Bieniemy was also named a unanimous All-American and finished third in Heisman Trophy voting during their national championship season in 1990.

Bieniemy was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft, later playing for the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles primarily as a special teamer before returning to Colorado in the early 2000s to finish his degree. Following that, he was hired as the school's running backs coach and later coached for the UCLA Bruins and the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, helping develop players such as Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson.

Bieniemy was Colorado's offensive coordinator for two seasons prior to joining the Kansas City Chiefs as running backs coach in 2013. He was credited in the development of Jamaal Charles and Kareem Hunt, with the latter leading the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie in 2017. He was promoted to offensive coordinator under head coach Andy Reid in 2018, winning Super Bowl LIV and Super Bowl LVII with the Chiefs and served the 2023 season with the Washington Commanders as their assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.

Early years

Bieniemy was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 15, 1969. He later moved with his family to Hollywood, California, in 1979 before settling in West Covina, California, the following year.[2] He later attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, California, lettering in football and track and field. Bieniemy earned second-team All-America football honors as a senior in 1986 after rushing for 2,002 yards and 30 touchdowns.[3]

College

Bieniemy enrolled at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1987, choosing them over the University of Southern California explaining: "I had been used to living in big city; I had never been in a small city. It was pretty, it was the first time in snow, it was just something different. I wanted to be a part of it."[2] He was an immediate starter for the Colorado Buffaloes as a freshman and was named to the 1988 All-Big Eight Conference football team as a sophomore after rushing 219 times for 1,243 yards and 10 touchdowns.[4][5]

He played in the Fifth Down Game against Missouri as a senior in 1990, in which two consecutive rushes by him were counted as second down due to an officiating error.[6] By the end of the 1990 season, he was named the Big Eight Conference's Offensive Player of the Year while finishing third in Heisman Trophy voting after rushing for 1,628 with 17 touchdowns en route to a national championship.[7][8] Bieniemy is Colorado's all-time leader in rushing (3,940 yards), rushing touchdowns (42), and all-purpose yards (4,351).[9] He was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.[10]

College statistics
Season GP Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD
1987 11 104 508 4.9 5 10 186 18.6 1
1988 10 219 1,243 5.7 10 2 20 10 0
1989 8 88 561 6.4 9 2 15 7.5 0
1990 11 288 1,628 5.7 17 13 159 12.2 0
Career[4] 40 699 3,940 5.6 41 27 380 14.1 1

Professional career

Bieniemy was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the second round (39th overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft.[11] In 1994, he appeared in Super Bowl XXIX and recorded a 33-yard reception, the longest of the game for the team. Bieniemy also played with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1995 to 1998 before retiring after one season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999. He finished his career with 1,589 rushing yards, 1,223 receiving yards, 276 return yards, 1,621 yards on kickoff returns, and 12 touchdowns (11 rushing and one kickoff).

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league
Bold Career high

Regular season

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Kick returns Punt returns
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Ret Yds Avg Lng TD Ret Yds Avg Lng TD
1991 SD 15 0 3 17 5.7 15 0 0 0 0
1992 SD 15 0 74 264 3.6 21 3 5 49 9.8 25 0 15 257 17.1 30 0 30 229 7.6 21 0
1993 SD 16 0 33 135 4.1 12 1 1 0 0.0 0 0 7 110 15.7 18 0 0
1994 SD 16 0 73 295 4.0 36 0 5 48 9.6 25 0 0 0
1995 CIN 16 1 98 381 3.9 27 3 43 424 9.9 33 0 8 168 21.0 34 0 7 47 6.7 10 0
1996 CIN 16 0 56 269 4.8 33 2 32 272 8.5 42 0 0 0
1997 CIN 16 0 21 97 4.6 20 1 31 249 8.0 21 0 34 789 23.2 102 1 0
1998 CIN 16 0 17 56 3.3 9 0 27 153 5.7 15 0 5 87 17.4 22 0 0
1999 PHI 16 0 12 75 6.3 28 1 2 28 14.0 27 0 10 210 21.0 30 0 0
Career 142 1 387 1,589 4.1 36 11 146 1,223 8.4 42 0 79 1,621 20.5 102 1 37 276 7.5 21 0

Postseason

Year Team Games Rushing Receiving Kick returns
GP GS Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Ret Yds Avg Lng TD
1992 SD 2 0 17 64 3.8 14 0 1 -4 -4.0 -4 0 1 14 14.0 14 0
1994 SD 3 0 5 36 7.2 17 0 1 33 33.0 33 0 1 13 13.0 13 0
Career 5 0 22 100 4.5 17 0 2 29 14.5 33 0 2 27 13.5 14 0

Coaching career

Early college jobs

Bieniemy was an assistant coach at Denver's Thomas Jefferson High School in 2000.[12] He re-enrolled at Colorado in 2001 to finish his degree in sociology and was the running backs coach for the Buffaloes from 2001 to 2002 and was UCLA running back coach from 2003 to 2005, as well as the team's recruiting coordinator in 2005.[13]

Minnesota Vikings

Following UCLA's 2005 Sun Bowl victory, Bieniemy accepted a position as running backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. During his time with the Vikings, Adrian Peterson, led the NFC in rushing with 1,341 yards in 2007 and also in 2008 with 1,760 yards, which was also top in the NFL. Bieniemy was given the title of assistant head coach in 2010.[14]

Return to Colorado

On December 2, 2010, Bieniemy returned to Colorado as offensive coordinator under head coach Jon Embree. Bieniemy was offered the head coach position in 2020 at Colorado but he declined.[15]

Kansas City Chiefs

In 2013, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid hired Bieniemy to be the running backs coach. In 2018, Reid promoted Bieniemy to offensive coordinator to succeed Matt Nagy who had been hired as the head coach of the Chicago Bears.[16] In Bieniemy's first season as the Chiefs offensive coordinator, the Chiefs were first in the NFL in yards per game and points scored.[15] The Chiefs scored the third-most points in a season in NFL history with 565. Additionally, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the second quarterback in NFL history, along with Peyton Manning, to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season.[17] The Chiefs reached the 2018 AFC Championship Game where they lost to the New England Patriots. In 2019, Bieniemy won his first Super Bowl when the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31–20 in Super Bowl LIV.[18] In 2022, Bieniemy won his second Super Bowl with the Chiefs after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII.[19]

Washington Commanders

On February 17, 2023, Bieniemy signed a two-year contract with the Washington Commanders to be Ron Rivera's assistant head coach and offensive coordinator.[20][21] He was given full playcalling duties, something he shared under Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.[22] At the conclusion of his first season with Washington, the Commanders finished with a 4-13 record. Bieniemy's offense ranked 21st in average yards per game.[23] Bieniemy was not retained by newly-hired head coach Dan Quinn for the 2024 season.[24]

Personal life

Bieniemy and his wife have two sons.[9] His nephew, Jamal, played basketball at the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas El Paso.[25] He also is a member of Omega Psi Phi.[2]

Legal issues

Bieniemy was arrested along with Colorado teammate Kanavis McGhee following a bar fight in February 1988. McGhee said the dispute arose after Bieniemy alleged that he had been called a "nigger" by a bar patron.[26] He pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to community service.[26] Bieniemy also received discipline from head coach Bill McCartney.[26]

In 1989, Bieniemy was ticketed in Westminster, Colorado for driving a defective vehicle, and in Aurora, Colorado for speeding. In October 1990, his license was suspended for a year after another traffic violation. On March 21, 1991, Bieniemy was caught speeding and driving with suspended license on Interstate 70 near Rifle, Colorado, going 92 mph in a 65 mph zone. On April 17, 1991, Bieniemy failed to appear in court on charges relating to the March 21 incident. A bench warrant was issued in Colorado for his arrest on April 23, 1991, two days after Bieniemy was drafted in the NFL.[27]

On July 4, 1990, Bieniemy pleaded no contest to interfering with a firefighter who had been performing his duties to extinguish a fire in Bieniemy's mother's garage.[27] Bieniemy received an eight-month suspended sentence[28] and was suspended for one game.[29] Bieniemy was instructed to do 40 hours of community service and attend an eight-hour firefighting training session.[27] An assistant city attorney said that Bieniemy failed to attend the firefighting training session as stipulated in the plea agreement, but Bieniemy asserted the session was optional.[27]

On September 27, 1993, Bieniemy was arrested in Boulder, Colorado, for allegedly harassing a female parking attendant. According to the police report, while with his friends, Bieniemy put his hand on the attendant's neck, startling her. She told police ,"[28] that Bieniemy and his friends took off their pants and began urinating nearby. Bieniemy was also named in an outstanding warrant on a charge of driving with a suspended license. As a result of this incident, Bieniemy was banned from the University of Colorado Boulder campus for one year.[13][30] In April 2001, Bieniemy was arrested for driving under the influence and was docked a month's pay.[31]

References

  1. ^ "1999 NFL PRONUNCIATION GUIDE". NFL.com. Retrieved February 23, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c Simers, T. J. (October 23, 1992). "Bieniemy Now Makes Trouble for Opponents". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  3. ^ Robb, Sharon (December 25, 1989). "Colorado's Bieniemy Puts Problems in Past". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Archived from the original on July 1, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Eric Bieniemy CFB". Sports Reference. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  5. ^ "All-Big Eight football". The Salina Journal. November 23, 1988. p. 11.
  6. ^ "OTL: Fifth-and-goal". ESPN. October 6, 2010. Archived from the original on June 10, 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2021.
  7. ^ Selby, Zach. "Five things to know about Eric Bieniemy". Commanders.com. Retrieved February 18, 2023.
  8. ^ "1990 Heisman Trophy Voting". Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Eric Bieniemy". lostlettermen.com. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  10. ^ "Eric Bieniemy (2010) - CU Athletic Hall of Fame". cubuffs.com. Retrieved February 18, 2023.
  11. ^ "1991 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved May 7, 2023.
  12. ^ "Five Things to Know About New Chiefs' OC Eric Bieniemy". chiefs.com. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  13. ^ a b Bach, Jessica; Tran, Bruce (April 5, 2004). "Football: Bieniemy to likely face questioning". Daily Bruin. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "Vikings promote RB coach Bieniemy". espn.com. July 26, 2010. Archived from the original on December 10, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  15. ^ a b "Eric Bieniemy is ready to be a head coach. Which NFL team will finally take him?". Archived from the original on January 2, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  16. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (January 9, 2018). "Chiefs promote Eric Bieniemy to offensive coordinator". NFL.com. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  17. ^ Lund, Spencer. "Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes Becomes 2nd Ever to Throw 50 TDs and 5,000 Yards in a Season". complex.com. Archived from the original on September 19, 2020. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  18. ^ "Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs - February 2nd, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  19. ^ "Super Bowl LVII - Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs - February 12th, 2023". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  20. ^ Keim, John. "Commanders officially name Eric Bieniemy as offensive coordinator". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  21. ^ Jhabvala, Nicki (February 17, 2023). "Commanders hire Eric Bieniemy as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 18, 2023.
  22. ^ Keim, John; Teicher, Adam (February 17, 2023). "What Eric Bieniemy's move means for the Chiefs, Commanders and his career". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  23. ^ "2023 NFL Offense Rankings: Team Pass and Rush Stats". Fox Sports.com. Retrieved January 7, 2024.
  24. ^ "Commanders fire Eric Bieniemy, coach Dan Quinn says". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 5, 2024.
  25. ^ "Jamal Bieniemy player profile". SoonerSports.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  26. ^ a b c Reilly, Rick (February 27, 1989). "What Price Glory?". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on December 15, 2020. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  27. ^ a b c d "Newest Charger on the Run : Colorado Warrant for Bieniemy's Arrest Is Latest Brush with Law". Los Angeles Times. April 23, 1991. Archived from the original on January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  28. ^ a b "Chargers' Bieniemy Arrested". Orlando Sentinel. September 27, 1993. Archived from the original on January 18, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  29. ^ "Colorado tailback suspended for alteraction". UPI. July 24, 1990. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  30. ^ "Lawrence Journal-World - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  31. ^ "Eric Bieniemy Arrested in DUI Case". AP NEWS. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.