Chiefs, GM Pioli part ways after 4 seasons in KC
Kansas CITY, Mo. (AP) — Scott Pioli is out as general manager of the
Kansas City Chiefs, who have been negotiating the past two days with
Andy Reid to become their next coach.
Pioli and the team "mutually parted ways," the Chiefs said in a
statement Friday. The decision came after four tumultuous seasons
marked by poor draft choices, ineffective free-agent moves, failed
coaching hires and a growing fan rebellion.
"I truly apologize for not getting the job done," Pioli said.
The Chiefs fired coach Romeo Crennel on Monday after finishing 2-14,
matching the worst record in their 53-year history. Chiefs chairman
Clark Hunt said other changes could be made, and indicated that Pioli's
future could be determined by their next coach.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press the team
is nearing a deal with Reid, who was fired after 14 seasons with the
Philadelphia Eagles. The person spoke to AP on condition of anonymity
because negotiations were ongoing. It is believed that Reid would
prefer to work with his own general manager.
"After several productive conversations, we made the difficult decision
to part ways with Scott Pioli and allow him to pursue other
opportunities," Hunt said in a statement Friday.
"This was a difficult decision for Scott as well," Hunt said. "He has a
great deal of appreciation for the history of this franchise, for our
players, coaches and employees, and especially our great fans."
Kansas City will have the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, and with five
players voted to the Pro Bowl, there are certainly pieces in place for
the Chiefs to make rapid improvement.
But most of those Pro Bowl players were drafted by Pioli's predecessor,
Carl Peterson. The former Patriots executive struggled to find impact
talent, 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 unrest unlike anything
the franchise has known. Some of them even paid for banners to be towed
behind planes before home games asking that he be fired.
Those fans finally got their wish.
The biggest reason ultimately wasn't the banners and posters, but by
the performance of the Chiefs. And that was a reflection of the roster
Pioli assembled, one that looked good on paper but not on the field.
Things were no better away from the field, either.
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.
He then drove to the team's practice facility and was confronted by
Pioli, Crennel and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs.
After thanking the three of them for giving him a chance in the NFL,
Belcher turned around in the parking lot, kneeled down and shot himself
in the head.
Pioli hasn't spoken publicly since then but issued a statement Friday
in which he thanked the organization for giving him an opportunity to
be its GM.
"The bottom line is that I did not accomplish all of what I set out to
do," Pioli said. "To the Hunt family — to the great fans of the Kansas
City Chiefs — to the players, all employees and alumni, I truly
apologize for not getting the job done."
Pioli often spoke of putting together "the right 53," but he routinely
failed to do so.
His biggest move upon being hired was trading for Patriots backup Matt Cassel and then giving him a $63 million, six-year deal. Cassel went to
the Pro Bowl in 2010, when the Chiefs won a surprising AFC West title,
but he struggled so mightily that he was benched this season.
Many of Pioli's moves in free agency also backfired.
Tight end Kevin Boss sustained a season-ending head injury in Week 2,
running back Peyton Hillis was a shadow of his former self, right
tackle Eric Winston got into a messy situation by calling out Chiefs
fans during an early season loss, and cornerback Stanford Routt was cut
under mysterious circumstances despite signing an $18 million,
One of his biggest shortcomings was in the draft.
He wasted the third overall pick in 2009 on defensive end Tyson Jackson, who has struggled to become an every-down player. The only
other player who has made a contribution from Pioli's first draft has
been kicker Ryan Succop, their seventh-round selection.
Pioli fared better in 2010, when he nabbed Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry
in the first round, but the past two years have been a disappointment.
Wide receiver Jon Baldwin, his first-round pick in 2011, has barely
made an impact, and defensive tackle Dontari Poe — the 11th overall
pick last April — failed to make the kind of impression the Chiefs had
Pioli didn't fare much better when it came to coaches.
He fired Herm Edwards soon after he was hired and chose Todd Haley as
the replacement, but their relationship was strained from the start.
Haley was fired last December and Crennel made the interim coach, and
then Pioli made the move permanent a few weeks after the season ended.
While beloved and respected by his players, Crennel struggled in his
second stint as a head coach, and was dismissed after a 2-14 finish —
only the third time in team history the Chiefs failed to win at least
three games in a season.
Chiefs Jettison Former Patriot Pioli
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