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 different direction."
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.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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