Thursday, January 15, 2009
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Pioli won't say whether Edwards is out

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[January 15, 2009]  KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- If Herm Edwards is on his way out as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, his new boss isn't saying.

In his first news conference since being hired as the final authority on all Chiefs football operations, new general manager Scott Pioli would go no further Wednesday than to say he intends to visit with Edwards.

"I have a lot of respect for Herm. I had a chance to visit with Herm today," said Pioli, who spent the last nine years helping Bill Belichick build a dynasty in New England.

Pioli is not unfamiliar with Edwards. The Patriots and New York Jets played each other twice a year during the four seasons Edwards was head coach in New York. Edwards is 15-34 in three years in Kansas City and has one year left on a four-year, $12 million contract.

"I've got a lot of respect for Herm on a professional level and a personal level. This entire thing is going to be a process," Pioli said.

There have been reports that Edwards, 2-23 in his last 25 games, was on his way out.

"Contrary to reports that were out there, we're going to spend some time talking about Herm," said Pioli. "I'm actually looking forward to it."


Edwards and his staff were 6-26 in their last two years, the worst span in team history. They have been waiting to learn their fate since Dec. 15, when Carl Peterson resigned after 20 years as president, CEO and general manager.

Chiefs board chairman Clark Hunt has said he liked Edwards and thought he might be the best man to continue the organization's rebuilding project.

"I told Scott that coming into this situation here I have an open mind and I think he also has an open mind," Hunt said.

When Peterson resigned, Hunt said the final decision on Edwards would be his. But sitting next to Pioli Wednesday night, he seemed to amend that a bit.

"It's a decision that the two of us will make together," he said.

Even though several other teams are also shopping for head coaches, Pioli said he feels no need for haste.

"I think it's about getting it right," he said. "When we decide what is right, we'll make that announcement. We can't spend too much time worrying about what other people are going to do. It's a delicate balance between being methodical and being aggressive."

Pioli has been given much credit for helping build a Patriots team that won three Super Bowls and four AFC championships. He was considered the hottest general manager prospect in the league. He's also the fifth graduate of the Belichick/Patriots tree to gain promotion to other jobs.

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Romeo Crennel went from New England defensive coordinator to head coach of the Cleveland Browns, and was fired after this past season. Eric Mangini, who replaced Crennel as defensive coordinator, followed Edwards as head coach of the Jets but was fired after three seasons.

Charlie Weis, the offensive coordinator on all three of New England's Super Bowl winners, became head coach at Notre Dame. Thomas Dimitroff went from New England's director of college scouting to general manager at Atlanta and helped turn the Falcons around this season.

Hunt said Pioli was "head and shoulders above everyone else we talked to."

"I went into the interview with him thinking there's no way this individual can live up to the hype surrounding him," Hunt said. "At the end of the interview, I was like, `Wow!' Not only did he live up to it, he exceeded it."

Pioli said he would focus on building a football team, not a collection of players, and declined to offer an assessment of the Chiefs' talent level.

"The first thing in building a team is that it's not necessarily the best 53 players, it's the right 53 players," he said.

"We're going to build a big, strong, fast, tough, disciplined football team. We're going to start from the ground up and build a foundation and move ahead and touch every part of the football operation. The patience I know Clark has told me he's going to show is going to be rewarded."

When asked, Hunt declined to say whether Denny Thum, a longtime team employee, would be named to a new position in charge of the team's business operations.

[Associated Press; By DOUG TUCKER]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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