Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Heimerdinger free to pursue options
NEW YORK -- The New York Jets parted ways with offensive
coordinator Mike Heimerdinger on Wednesday.
Last week, new coach Eric Mangini informed Heimerdinger the team
would retain him to run the offense. Heimerdinger was upset with
the decision because he was interviewed and passed over for the
head coaching job, making for an awkward situation.
Plus, he came in under former coach Herman Edwards last year.
When asked last week whether he was happy with the decision,
Heimerdinger said, "I don't have a choice." It later became clear
he was trying to get out of his contract, in which he had two years
left at over $2 million.
It is unclear what type of financial agreement was made to let
Heimerdinger out of his deal. Heimerdinger's agent, Bob LaMonte,
was traveling and unavailable for comment. Heimerdinger didn't
return a message seeking comment.
"I have great respect for Mike Heimerdinger as a football
coach," Mangini said in a statement. "Ultimately, we agreed that
the best course of action would be for the Jets to go in a
Heimerdinger has been linked to Denver since Edwards left for
Kansas City. Now that Gary Kubiak is on the verge of becoming the
Texans coach, Heimerdinger has a chance to reunite with good friend
and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.
Heimerdinger and Shanahan were college roommates at Eastern
Illinois, and he previously worked for Shanahan while coaching the
Broncos receivers from 1995-99. On Tuesday, Shanahan seemed
undecided about whether to look outside for an offensive
coordinator or within the team, which could mean elevating
offensive line coach Rick Dennison to the spot.
"I'm not really sure," Shanahan said. "It could be quick. It
could be a little bit later. I have a few different directions to
go. I'm not really sure right now. I'm going to let a little time
go by and find out what my options are."
Heimerdinger also was Titans offensive coordinator from 2000-04
before going to the Jets for 2005.
He went to New York believing the bigger spotlight would help
his chances to become a head coach. Instead, the Jets struggled
through injuries on offense after losing Chad Pennington, Jay
Fiedler and Curtis Martin to injuries.