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Archive for Thursday, January 5, 2006

Chiefs reportedly close to naming Edwards

January 5, 2006

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— Herman Edwards is close to becoming the next Kansas City Chiefs' head coach.

Kansas City and the Jets discussed a compensation package for Edwards on Wednesday, a person close to the situation said. Another person familiar with the negotiations said the talks were almost completed.

Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

The Chiefs, rumored to be interested in Edwards for the last two months, would have to give up draft picks to hire Edwards because he is still under contract with the Jets. Edwards has ties to the Kansas City organization and general manager Carl Peterson, and would replace retired coach Dick Vermeil.

The NFL must approve the deal before it can be official, and nothing was submitted to the league office Wednesday, both sources said.

Edwards and general manager Terry Bradway previously had scheduled a season-ending news conference for today.

Giving up draft picks is nothing new to the Chiefs. Kansas City surrendered second- and a third-round picks when it hired Vermeil, who was technically under contract with St. Louis even though he was retired. Peterson was upset about that, and though he declined to discuss Edwards at a news conference Tuesday, he did say "Any time I have to part with a No. 1 draft choice it's painful."

But the Chiefs might not have to if the Jets agree to take lower-round selections. That would make sense for the Jets, who need as many picks as they can get to fill holes after a 4-12 season.

The Jets maintained Wednesday the Chiefs hadn't officially contacted them. Edwards' agent, Gary O'Hagan, said he hadn't spoken with the Jets or Chiefs, saying, "I'm only talking to Coach Edwards." A phone message for Edwards wasn't returned.

Edwards, who has two years left on his contract, wants an extension with the Jets so he could have more time to rebuild the team. At $2 million a year, Edwards is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the league, and wanted a raise as a reward for taking the team to the playoffs three times in five years.

Still, he maintained throughout the season and as late as Monday that he planned to be the Jets' coach. In November, team owner Woody Johnson also said he wanted Edwards to stay.

"I'm happy to be the coach here and I'm going to be the coach here, like I said before, and that's as far as I want to comment on it," Edwards said earlier this week.

It appears that is no longer likely. Kansas City always appeared to be a good fit since Edwards has ties to the Chiefs and Peterson, who tried to recruit Edwards to go to UCLA, then signed him as an undrafted free agent with Philadelphia. Peterson gave him his first NFL job as an executive in the Chiefs' player personnel department in 1990.

When the Jets played Kansas City to open the 2005 season, Edwards and his wife had dinner with Peterson and his wife - something Peterson said was rare for him to do during the year. Before the game, Edwards expressed his gratitude to Peterson and Vermeil for giving him a chance.

"They were a great influence, there's no doubt about it," Edwards said at the time. "They really set the table for my pro career as a player and as a coach and a scout. I can't be more grateful to both of those guys."

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