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Vermeil Walking Away After Season

By January 1, 2006

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When the Kansas City Chiefs take the field Sunday, it may be the last time with head coach Dick Vermeil leading the troops. On Saturday night, as reported by the Kansas City Star, Vermeil told his players and staff that he would retire at the end of the season, which, for the Chiefs, could be just around the corner.

The Chiefs face elimination from playoff contention, and even a win Sunday won't guarantee advancement to the post-season. To extend Vermeil's tenure for at least one more contest, the Chiefs must win against Cincinnati --no small task in itself-- and hope the hapless Detroit Lions can slow down the red-hot Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kansas City's front office could stay in-house and promote offensive coordinator Al Saunders to fill the vacancy left by Vermeil's retirement. They might also look at bringing in a defensive-minded coach like the Redskins Greg Williams or Chicago's Ron Rivera. One rumor that just won't die ties Jets head coach Herman Edwards to the position, but he is still under contract with New York. A guy like Mike Martz, who succeeded Vermeil in St. Louis, could also be of interest since he most likely will not be retained by the Rams.

In five seasons with the Chiefs, Vermeil has a 43-36 regular-season record, but made only one appearance in the post-season. His clubs were never short on offense, but the defensive side of the ball consistently under-performed and generally led to the team's downfall.

Vermeil began his head coaching career in 1976 with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he spent seven seasons that included an NFL Coach of the Year award in 1980 and a Super Bowl XV appearance in 1981. He stepped away from the game for the first time after the 1982 season, spending the next 15 years as a sports analyst for various networks.

Vermeil returned to coaching in 1997 with the St. Louis Rams, where he rebuilt a floundering franchise and led them to their first-ever Superbowl victory in Super Bowl XXXIV. He also earned his second NFL Coach of the Year award for the team's dramatic improvement from the previous season.

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