NFL: Haley sounds interested in Charlie Weis for Chiefs
By DOUG TUCKER
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis wants to come to Kansas City as offensive coordinator, the welcome mat could be out.
Head coach Todd Haley, who served as his own offensive coordinator during a rocky 4-12 season, does not want to keep wearing both hats. He and Weis are friends from their days as assistants with the New York Jets and have been talking on the phone all year.
Weis, dismissed last fall with a 35-27 record in five seasons at Notre Dame, sounds like just what Haley is looking for.
“Charlie’s a guy I have a great amount of respect for as a coach,” Haley said Wednesday at his final news conference of the season. “He’s a coach that system-wise, I would say we’re as close as you can be. Charlie’s a guy I consider a friend and I’ve talked to throughout the year, no different from some of the other guys I lean on for things and advice.”
Haley has begun a staff evaluation and said he has already released offensive line coach Joe D’Allessandris and defensive line coach Tim Krumrie. Many fans also hope defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will be replaced, possibly by former Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel.
Haley was noncommittal about Crennel and Pendergast.
“No conversations in that order to this point,” he said.
But he did nothing to temper rumors that Weis may be headed for Kansas City after being dumped by Notre Dame six weeks ago.
Weis, like Crennel, has a connection with general manager Scott Pioli. Weis was offensive coordinator and Pioli was director of player personnel during two of the Patriots’ Super Bowl runs.
“I would want to make sure the fit is a good one and Charlie would allow us to run the offense we’ve been running if he were in this mix,” Haley said.
The emergence of running back Jamaal Charles, voted the team’s MVP, gives the offense something to build on next year no matter who the coordinator is.
“I really believe we were able to lay a foundation for the Kansas City Chiefs,” Haley said. “We were able to set expectations for our players of what’s expected of them both schematically and offseason, in season and practice — the way we’re going to do things as a team on a consistent basis. I believe that foundation was laid.
“It was a very difficult year, a year we were able to make progress, as evidenced by the way the season wound down.”
The Chiefs are expected to be busy in the offseason trying to fill gaping needs, including defensive back, wide receiver, linebacker, defensive line and tight end.
They pick fifth in April’s draft. The could have picked third, but instead ended Haley’s rookie year on a rousing high by beating Denver 44-24 in the season finale.
Haley admitted his first year as a head coach was a learning experience, and he was often criticized for game decisions, clock management and the seemingly inconsistent way of punting or not punting on fourth down. He gained a league-wide reputation as a tough, demanding overlord, screaming at players during games; in his first meeting with four-time Pro Bowl guard and team leader Brian Waters, Haley bragged that he could “take 22 guys off the street” and win more than the two games the 2008 Chiefs had won.
Might his reputation hurt the chances of signing highly sought free agents?
“I’m going to stay with the basic philosophy which I’ve always coached, which is if that deters somebody or keeps somebody from wanting to be a part of what we’re building, then we probably didn’t want them in the first place,” he said.
“I want mentally tough guys because if you’re mentally tough and you’re physically tough, things don’t bother you,” Haley said. “You’re able to keep a tough exterior shell which is impenetrable. And when you have players and coaches who have that mindset, generally you’ll be able to handle everything thrown at you.”