Vermeil back for two more years

With his original contract about to expire, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil has agreed to a two-year extension through 2005.

Vermeil, 67, signed a three-year contract when he came out of a brief retirement to join the Chiefs in 2001. That contract was believed to be worth about $10 million. Financial details of the deal, which was signed on Thursday, were not available.

Last week, Vermeil told coaches, players and team officials he would return for the 2004 season. The extension maintains stability in one of the league's best-run franchises and permits Chiefs president and general manager Carl Peterson time to reflect on an eventual replacement.

Peterson noted last month that he had offered Vermeil a two-year contract extension, in part because his own accord with owner Lamar Hunt has two seasons remaining. At the time, Peterson said that Vermeil could wait until late spring to decide his future.

In his three-year Chiefs tenure, Vermeil has compiled a 27-22 record, including a regular-season mark of 13-3 in 2003. But Kansas City lost to Indianapolis last weekend in the divisional round, and after a 9-0 start, split its final eight games (counting the playoff defeat).

One of the game's most respected head coaches, Vermeil has performed turnarounds in three different cities, first Philadelphia, then St. Louis and, finally, Kansas City. His career record is 109-99.

Vermeil said he was not close to deciding on a defensive
coordinator to replace Greg Robinson, who resigned Tuesday.

"I'm not going to rush into it,'' he said. "It's a very
important decision. I've had players visiting all morning. It's
been enjoyable. I have no idea when we'll do something."

Vermeil has said two of his defensive assistants -- Joe Vitt and
Peter Giunta -- would be candidates. Giunta was Vermeil's defensive
coordinator with the St. Louis Rams in 1998 and '99, when the Rams
won the Super Bowl. In 1999, the Rams' defense ranked sixth

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.