Eric Bieniemy says he chose not to stay with the Commanders

After 16 seasons as an NFL assistant coach, Eric Bieniemy has taken a job as an assistant coach at the college level.

In choosing to accept the position of offensive coordinator and associate head coach at UCLA, Bieniemy reduced some thoughts to writing and emailed them to

Among other things, he says he could have stayed with the Commanders.

I have no regrets with the Commanders,” Bieniemy wrote, via “Contrary to what some think and what has been put out in the media, I was not fired. I actually just chose not to stay. Learned a lot and that is always a good thing.”

It’s unclear whether he was offered the position of offensive coordinator on Dan Quinn’s staff, or some other job.

Bieniemy instead returns to the school where he previously worked as an assistant coach, from 2003 through 2005. He thereafter spent five years with the Vikings, two at Colorado as offensive coordinator, five with the Chiefs as running backs coach, five more with the Chiefs as offensive coordinator, and one in Washington as offensive coordinator.

Bieniemy was a head-coaching candidate for several cycles, but he never received an offer to run an NFL franchise.

“I have had countless conversations and interviews with many teams, and I have been applauded and lauded,” Bieniemy wrote in his email. “I can’t say why certain decisions were or were not made but it had nothing to [do] with a lack of anything on my end.”

The challenge for Bieniemy moving forward will be to find a way to stay relevant when it comes to potential NFL jobs. If that’s even something he wants to do in 2025 or beyond.

Through it all, it’s impossible to overlook the affinity that some players in Kansas City still have for Bieniemy. After he made a surprise visit to the team the night before the AFC Championship, quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he got “chill bumps” when Bieniemy spoke to them.

Any coach who can induce that kind of organic reaction for the best player in the NFL currently and one of the top two or three quarterbacks of all time has significant potential value to a football team. It will be interesting to see what he can do at UCLA.

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