Since he retired as Chiefs coach after the 2005 season, Dick Vermeil has lived outside of Philadelphia. There, he had the chance to watch up close as Andy Reid coached the Eagles, another one of Vermeil’s former teams.
Vermeil quickly became a fan of Reid, whose 14-season run with the Eagles ended in January, days before he came to Kansas City to coach the Chiefs.
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“I have a great appreciation for him as a person and as a coach,” said Vermeil, who was at Shoal Creek Golf Course on Monday to participate in the Trent Green Golf Classic to benefit Ronald McDonald House charities. “I’ve been on his practice field and watched him coach. I’ve been in meetings and watched him coach. I’m just impressed with how he does things. It’s more the old-fashioned way to coach. He works them hard and makes them better. He’s fair to his players. There’s no (clutter) in his message in any way. He’s very straightforward. He’s intense, but at a level where players can still learn.”
Vermeil, an occasional visitor at Eagles workouts over the last seven seasons, will visit practice today in Kansas City as the Chiefs begin their final week of offseason work with a three-day minicamp at their Truman Sports Complex practice facility.
Vermeil had a hand, however small, in arranging the union between the Chiefs and Reid. After the Chiefs fired coach Romeo Crennel at the end of last season, chairman Clark Hunt called Vermeil.
“He wanted to know my opinions on the coaches available,” Vermeil said. “My opinion was that there are only three you should think about and they were Andy Reid, Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher. I told him there was no way he could take another chance. But Andy is the one I know the best personally.
“So he contacted Andy Reid and Andy called me. I knew he was going to call. He said, ‘What do you know about Kansas City?’ I said, ‘Go.’ It’s a great place with great people. The Hunt family was outstanding to me. I just felt he would fit in the community and he’s an outstanding football coach. He needed a change, I felt. There were just so many problems he had with the Eagles the last few years, things that backfired, things that went wrong. There was just no way he could breathe without it being evaluated, positively or negatively.”
Reid was among the most successful coaches in Eagles history. He and Vermeil are the only coaches to take the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
But Reid’s time in Philadelphia ended poorly. His final two teams missed the playoffs, the only time Reid failed to get to the postseason in back-to-back seasons. The Eagles’ 4-12 record last season was their worst under Reid.
Vermeil said Reid would be rejuvenated with the Chiefs.
“This is just a great place to be,” Vermeil said. “It’s refreshing to him. This is a great football city. Philadelphia is great, too, but it’s tough. In Philadelphia, they’re passionate and intense. In Kansas City, people are just as passionate but not quite as intense.”