Vermeil has an open invitation to coach the Kansas City Chiefs for long as he wants. Last week he hinted that a decision was imminent and today he gave mixed signals as to his future. Depending on how you read his words different conclusions can be made.
"If I feel real good about I can help this organization be better than they were this year ... then chances are I'll stay on and keep trying to do it," he said Monday.
Vermeil's Chiefs just finished 13-3 and he admitted that the season had been long. His primary concern is his health, which is good and making sure the decision he makes is the right one. He left the St. Louis Rams before he really wanted to stop coaching and its very hard to tell if Vermeil is leaning one way or another about returning to the Chiefs next year or beyond.
One thing is for certain Vermeil is under no pressure from the Chiefs President and friend Carl Peterson nor team owner Lamar Hunt and his family.
"I'm not being run out of town," Vermeil said. "I just have to do what I think is best in relationship to my responsibilities as a head football coach and being in the right frame of mind to do it better next year than we've done it this year."
When asked by a local reporter on Monday, Vermeil admitted that he goes back and forth with his decision. He admitted going to work after the 31-3 victory over the Bears on Sunday was much easier than a week before after their embarrassing loss in Minnesota.
"I couldn't wait to come to work this morning. But I'm very, very realistic," he added. "The term I always use is that there are no guarantees in this league. I look at the big picture and how it will be next year and where I fit in terms of the contribution I think I can help make."
For Vermeil it's a decision that he and his wife Carol will make. Vermeil said today that his wife loves it in Kansas City and she'd like to stay working in the community. Vermeil knows that his decision effects a lot of people and its clear that the time to make a decision is near.
Vermeil will need to make a decision soon because of the rumors that offensive coordinator might be one of the top candidates for the Nebraska Cornhuskers head coaching vacancy.
Saunders could also be a hot commodity as at least ten NFL Head Coaching jobs could have openings over the next week or so. Vermeil has already indicated that he'd like to see Saunders succeed him whenever he steps down as the Chiefs coach. Vermeil relies much more on his staff than he did in either Philadelphia or St. Louis. But still the season has wears him down and the drain of training camp, pre-season games and regular season can take it's toll on any coach.
"Sometimes you just run out of gas," he said. "Especially with my personality type. You just don't know if you can do it better next year. Very few people can really appreciate the grind. It's a wonderful grind. But it's a draining grind. When you're older, and my personality type, it can drain you."
But Vermeil is a realist and he knows that a decision has to be made and done in away that won't hurt the chemistry of the team or damage the organization in any way. The Chiefs are one of the elite teams in the NFL and they have a golden opportunity to get back to the Super Bowl.
This is not an easy decision for Vermeil. Many lives depend on his decision from coaches to players. And as long as Vermeil can still deliver to the players and the organization in the same manner that he has the past three years, then he could likely stay for another two years.
Carl Peterson has a contract through the 2005 season and Vermeil if he accepted a contract extension would likely coach another two seasons to coincide with Peterson's contract. They both started out together in coaching and leaving the game at the same time might appeal to Vermeil. Peterson certainly would like him to stay and will give Vermeil all the time in the world to make a decision.
Still Vermeil, who has obviously given his coaching future some serious thought, did add some fuel to the fire that Vermeil might not come back to the Chiefs next season.
"You can pretend you've got a lot left. But I tell you; sometimes you're kidding everybody, including yourself."
One thing is certain Vermeil is close to a decision. If I were to guess, I'd say Vermeil will let Carl Peterson, Lamar Hunt, his players and coaches of his future when they get back to practice next Saturday. Vermeil does not want any distractions for this team going into the playoffs. Associated Press contributed to this story