Eagles Wake-Up Call: Good-Will Gus

Gus Bradley has been called “the nicest man ever to lead a pack of cutthroats.” It has been written that his “blood type is sunshine.”

Pete Carroll lauded Bradley as the best teacher that he has ever been around.

Safe to say he has built up some good will over the years, and it might just come in handy.

No one speaks more highly of  the 46-year-old than Monte Kiffin, who helped discover Bradley and worked alongside him in Tampa Bay.

“He reminds me of (Steelers coach) Mike Tomlin. We hired Mike at 29-years-old out of the University of Cincinnati. It didn’t take long to know that Mike was special, and I knew from Day 1 that Gus was special. He’ll be a head coach in the NFL. He’s got no panic. Some people do, it doesn’t mean they’re not really good coaches, but Gus, he’s special. When he interviews, he’ll knock your socks off. I’m not trying to pump him up, but I know what he is. He’s put it on tape up there.”

Birds 24/7 learned through conversations on Monday that Jon Gruden is also very high on Seattle’s defensive coordinator. Bradley served under Gruden from 2006-08, first as a quality control coach and then a linebackers coach. (Maybe it will provide the Gruden fanatics a little peace of mind knowing that their guy at least endorses Bradley’s candidacy.)

It stands to reason that Gruden and the rest of the Bradley supporters could be valuable assets if he is in fact tabbed to be the Eagles’ next head coach (though Kiffin might have to lay low, seeing as he is now the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys). Connections are key in the NFL, especially if you want to build yourself a quality staff. Bradley appears to have that going for him.

Between the rave reviews, the fact that he is a defensive guy and, of course, this video,  those positive vibes have found their way into Philadelphia. Bradley has quickly gone from virtual unknown to a popular candidate. There are plenty of fans hoping that he comes in for a second interview Tuesday and never leaves.

You get the feeling that they just  might get their wish.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Some details on Bradley as he gets set for his second interview.

The Eagles spent part of their day Monday interviewing Ken Whisenhunt and Jay Gruden.

Howie Roseman got beat up a bit in a piece by Jason La Canfora. I offered a couple thoughts.

Sheil looks at the playoffs through the green lens.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Instead of the normal national roundup, figured we’d show you some fan tweets in reaction to Bradley being brought in for a second interview by the Eagles.

COMING UP

The end of the coaching search?

Eagles To Interview Gus Bradley Again Tuesday

The Eagles will meet with Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for a second time on Tuesday, the team announced.

Bradley, considered one of the top candidates, interviewed with the team on Saturday prior to the Seahawks’ divisional playoff game against the Falcons.

The first sit-down obviously went pretty well.

Reports suggested that Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski would meet with Bruce Arians Tuesday. However, the Eagles made it known Monday evening that no interview had been scheduled with the Colts offensive coordinator. Not long after, they revealed their plans to talk with Bradley again.

Bradley’s been Seattle’s defensive coordinator for four seasons. Here’s a look at how his unit has stacked up:

 
Scoring Defense
Total Defense (Yards)
Football Outsiders (DVOA)
200925th24th29th
201025th27th29th
20117th9th10th
20121st4th4th

Prior to landing in Seattle, Bradley spent three seasons working under Monte Kiffin in Tampa – two as linebackers coach (2007-2008) and one as quality control coach (2006). The 46-year-old was the assistant head coach at his alma mater, North Dakota State, from 2000 to 2005.

Impressing Kiffin has undoubtedly helped him make the steady rise up the NFL ranks. Here’s what Jim L. Mora said about hiring Bradley as the Seahawks defensive coordinator in 2009, per the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

“Monte [Kiffin] says, ‘J.L., listen to me. I have got a guy here in Tampa that is one of, if not, the finest football coaches I have ever worked with. He’s an A-plus. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime coach. You need to talk to him,’ ” Mora recalled.

“He said, ‘J.L., this guy is special. You have to bring him in. You have to talk to him.’ “

According to ESPN.com, Mora originally planned to hire a different defensive coordinator, but Bradley won him over during the interview process and got the job.

A year later, the Seahawks fired Mora and brought in Pete Carroll. Bradley went through a similar process. Kiffin talked to Carroll. Bradley got an interview. And now Carroll speaks glowingly of his defensive coordinator. From The Seattle Times:

“He’s the best teacher I’ve ever been around,” Carroll said. “He’s so thorough, so thoughtful, and he’ll go to such lengths to find ways to make sense of the information so the guys can understand it in practical ways.

“It doesn’t matter how good we teach. It’s how well they learn. I think that connection is really clear with Gus. He’s great at it.”

The Eagles have been on an extensive search over the last two weeks, interviewing college coaches, former head coaches and NFL assistants alike. They brought in both Jay Gruden and Ken Whisenhunt for talks on Monday. Their reported Tuesday date with Arians was the last known interview on the docket. Now that date is reserved for Bradley. Perhaps that will be the last meeting they will need to have.

Sheil Kapadia contributed to this report.

Eagles Interview Ken Whisenhunt, Jay Gruden

And the search goes on.

The Eagles announced today that they’ve interviewed former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Whisenhunt’s teams went 45-51 in Arizona. They made the playoffs twice and advanced all the way to the Super Bowl in 2008, beating the Eagles in the NFC championship game.

But things turned ugly the past three seasons, largely because of the team’s inability to find a quarterback. The Cardinals went 18-30 from 2010 to 2012. Last season, they started out 4-0 before dropping nine in a row and 11 of their last 12.

Whisenhunt has drawn interest from the Bills, Browns and Chargers. Buffalo and Cleveland, of course, have already filled their vacancies. Whisenhunt reportedly interviewed with San Diego on Tuesday.

Prior to landing the Cardinals job, he served on the Steelers staff for six seasons – three as tight ends coach and three as offensive coordinator. He also spent time with the Jets (2000), Browns (1999) and Ravens (1997-98).

As for Jay Gruden, he’s spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. You can find more about him here.

For those keeping track at home, here are the candidates the Eagles have interviewed so far: Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, ex-Bears coach Lovie Smith, Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, Falcons special-teams coach Keith Armstrong, Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien.

Kelly, Kelly and O’Brien are no longer candidates. Bradley is expected to get a second look.

The Eagles are expected to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians this week.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Some Thoughts On the Howie Roseman Debate

Jason La Canfora went after Howie Roseman pretty hard in his latest piece for CBS Sports, portraying the 37-year-old as a shaky general manager who is impeding  the Eagles’ quest to find a quality head coach.

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me one esteemed coach or another advised one of the Eagles’ top candidates not to take the job precisely because of Roseman’s presence there. Roseman isn’t the general manager they should tie their wagon to. It’s clear Chip Kelly wasn’t leaving Oregon for anywhere unless he had a large measure of control over the organization, and owner Jeffrey Lurie has already entrusted that to Roseman. There has been trepidation by some candidates to go all-in given the questions about this existing power structure.

The rumblings about Roseman lacking nuance and foresight, about him turning people off with how drunk with power he’s become, only grow louder as his coaching search grows stranger.

This is not the first time that Roseman has been described as a potential hindrance. When the Eagles were flirting with Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, the Harriburg Patriot News suggested that the former Patriots offensive coordinator may not be fond of the idea of coming to Philadelphia because Roseman is held in “low regard” by Bill Belichick.

There is enough smoke to suggest at the very least that Roseman is not universally admired across the NFL. It is also possible that the Roseman detractors are a very small group with a very loud voice. If an executive wanted to grind an ax, say, he would be able to plant enough seeds in the media to have several stories sprout up.

If the Eagles are having a difficult time finding a desirable candidate who wants the gig, it likely has more to do with the power structure and the quarterback situation than it does Roseman. If Chip Kelly or O’Brien wanted full control over personnel, they would not find it in Philadelphia. Where the Chiefs were willing to cut ties with Scott Pioli to land Andy Reid, Jeffrey Lurie does not appear all that flexible when it comes to his general manager situation; he wants Roseman here, and he wants him to have significant sway.

That, plus the cloudiness at the quarterback position, is enough to shrink the pool.

Peter King believes that some of the bloom is off the Eagles’ rose:

I understand the vagaries of college coaches interviewing for jobs, and how some of them (most, maybe) want to use the interviews to better their lots in college. But the Eagles have averaged 10.4 wins a year, with nine playoff appearances since the turn of the century. That’s about as good as it gets, aside from the Super Bowl drought, in a highly competitive league. But now, this could be a team trending downward.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a club statement: “There is no question we spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking at who we thought were the best collegiate candidates for our head coaching job. We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts. We understood that going into the process, but we wanted to leave no stone unturned while trying to find the best head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. We have no regrets about the effort we made in that direction and we will continue to proceed as planned in our search.”

Fine. But would three premier college coaches say no to the Steelers? The Giants? The Packers? Don’t think so.

To find the Eagles job desirable, you have to crave the challenge of following Reid; you must be motivated by the idea of  identifying and grooming a QB while building the franchise back up; you have to be dying to ride the roller coaster with a rabid fan base. And you must find the power structure appealing.

It  is not for everyone. That is true whether Roseman is the GM or not.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Gus Bradley Has “Great Interview” With Eagles

Gus Bradley‘s interview with the Eagles on Saturday went very well, according to Jay Glazer.

“He had a great interview with the Philadelphia Eagles,” said Glazer. “If the Seahawks lose [to the Falcons] look for the Eagles to bring Bradley back in.”

The Seahawks did lose to Atlanta, making Bradley available. While a second interview is certainly possible, it had not yet been scheduled as of Monday morning, according to a league source.

Glazer also reports that Mike Nolan, who interviewed with the Eagles early in the process, plans to stay in Atlanta.

“Before Cleveland hired Rob Chudzinski they really wanted to bring Nolan in there – they were hot for him. Nolan told me, ‘Listen, I’m very happy where I am with Mike Smith and Tom Dimitroff. Unless it’s a great job, I love being here in Atlanta.’”

Meanwhile, a couple other assistants the Eagles have targeted are drawing attention elsewhere.

The Eagles met with Brian Billick on Monday, a source confirmed. Billick has not been linked to any other teams. Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski are slated to meet with Jay Gruden Monday and Bruce Arians Tuesday.

Be sure to check out our coaching tracker for all the latest.

 

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Jon Gruden Argument

Jeffrey Lurie’s statement made it clear.

“There is no certain formula here,” he said, when asked if the Eagles were open to hiring a college coach. “Everything is on the table. There are some outstanding college coaches out there and some outstanding coordinators out there. There are outstanding coaches that used to coach in the National Football League out there. [We’ll leave] no stone unturned, and we’re open to it all.”

As of this morning, it’s been two weeks since the Eagles fired Andy Reid and Lurie made those comments. He has stayed true to his words (for the most part). He’s looked at college coaches (Chip Kelly, Bill O’Brien, Brian Kelly). He’s looked at coordinators (Gus Bradley, Mike McCoyJay Gruden). And he’s looked at previous head coaches (Brian Billick, Lovie Smith, Mike Nolan).

With every new day, it seems like a new name surfaces. But through it all, one has been missing: Jon Gruden.

This is not about finding someone fiery or appeasing the sports-talk calling masses. It’s about leaving no stone unturned, as Lurie put it. So let’s review the key points and questions on both sides of the Gruden argument, one-by-one:

Is Gruden’s resume really that impressive?

Everyone discusses the Tampa years, but Gruden’s first shot as a head coach came in Oakland. He inherited a team that had gone 11-21 the previous two seasons. Gruden had a pair of 8-8 years and then turned the Raiders into a playoff team. They went 12-4 and 10-6 in 2000 and 2001, making the playoffs both years. In the 11 seasons since Gruden left, the Raiders have had a winning record once. That was in 2002, the year after he departed.

And then there’s Tampa. An overall 57-55 record with the Bucs is not all that impressive. It’s true that Gruden inherited a team that had made the playoffs the previous three seasons. But Tampa had also experienced first-round exits in back-to-back years. In 2002, with Gruden, they won the Super Bowl. He had a lot of Tony Dungy’s players, but as this article explains, there were some changes made to the roster that year. Gruden’s Tampa teams finished with a winning record in four of seven seasons and made the postseason three times.

What went wrong during the end of his tenure there?

If I’m an owner, this is one of the first questions I pose to Gruden, and also one that I do a lot of my own homework on. After the Super Bowl season, Gruden’s teams missed out on the postseason in four of six years. During his final season in Tampa, the Bucs closed out the season on a four-game losing streak and finished 9-7 after starting out 9-3.

Things got ugly. Simeon Rice called Gruden a “scumbag.” Wide receiver Michael Clayton called him a turncoat. Assistant coaches had some not-so-nice things to say about Gruden and his ego. And so, he was shown the door.

Gruden never developed a young quarterback.

This is true to a point. Then again, unless I missed something, the guys he was working with didn’t exactly go on to bigger and better things – like Pro Bowls and Super Bowls – when Gruden was out of the picture. I mean, we’re talking about Brian Griese, Chris Simms and Bruce Gradkowski here.

On the other hand, Gruden helped Rich Gannon (95.5 QB rating in 2001 at the age of 36), Brad Johnson (22 TDs, 6 INTs at the age of 34 during the Super Bowl year) and Jeff Garcia (92.2 QB rating in 2007-2008 at the age of 37) to some very productive years.

What about his personnel decisions?

This is an important one. How much control are you willing to give Gruden, given his track record? How much say would he demand? Those are questions a team like the Eagles would have to ask itself. It’s true that Gruden wasn’t responsible for building Tampa’s Super Bowl team. But the Bucs had just one pick in the first two rounds in Gruden’s first two seasons there. In other words, building his own core for the long-term was challenging.

Does Gruden want to coach? Why aren’t the Eagles talking to him?

On the final day of the regular season, reports surfaced that Gruden and the Eagles could be a realistic match, but nothing ever materialized (publicly, anyway). Ron Jaworski, a friend of Gruden’s, indicated last week that Gruden could be interested in the Eagles, but the team hasn’t reached out to him. Mike Mayock and Dick Vermeil, two well-connected members of the NFL community, recently called for the Eagles to go after Gruden too.

No coach has ever won a Super Bowl with one team and gone on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy with a second team. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Gruden’s only 49, and there’s at least a chance that he learned from his previous experiences and comes back improved. Ray Didinger explained this theory well on Daily News Live last week.

“He’s had the advantage of being out of it a little bit, but not too long,” Didinger said. “Four years is a good time to kind of catch your breath, re-charge, and when you’re around the game the way Jon’s around the game now as a broadcaster… he’s spent four years now traveling around the league, broadcasting games, spending time with every coaching staff, looking at tape, picking people’s brains. I’ve seen guys do this before. They get out of the game, are away from it a little bit, but continue to learn. And when they come back and get an opportunity to be a head coach again, they come back a better version of what they were. And I think Jon’s a smart enough guy that if he gets that opportunity, I think he’ll do that. …Whoever gets him next, I think, is going to get a very good coach.”

So, are the Eagles interested? There’s been little indication lately that they are. But remember, Lurie and company can be secretive when they choose to be. Admitting interest in Gruden and then hiring someone else would be a public-relations disaster. We didn’t find out about the O’Brien interview until after he already decided to stay at Penn State. We didn’t find out about Billick until several days after they met with him. And just recently, a report surfaced that they made a call or two about Bill Cowher.

If the Eagles looked into the Gruden possibility and decided against it, that’s OK. Maybe there are issues from when Gruden was the Eagles offensive coordinator back in the 90s. Maybe he’s making unreasonable contract demands. Maybe he wants full personnel control. Or maybe the story of how things fell apart in Tampa is even worse than we know. After all, it hasn’t been just the Eagles. No team has expressed interest publicly in Gruden this offseason. If Lurie and Howie Roseman did their homework and decided Gruden would be a bad fit, that’s fine.

But there’s always the possibility of another surprise candidate, especially if Lurie’s not smitten with any of his current remaining options.

Considering his comments at the beginning of the search and the nature of the process, Lurie would be making a mistake if he didn’t at least look into Gruden as an option somewhere along the line.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles have reportedly interviewed Billick. Tim’s got some details.

The Birds are in the mix for CFL and former USC defensive tackle Armon Armstead.

Now that Brian Kelly has decided to stay at Notre Dame, is the pressure on the Eagles?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune has some details on the Eagles’ pursuit of Brian Kelly:

In a phone conversation with the Tribune on Saturday, athletics director Jack Swarbrick laid out the timeline of the entire process: The Eagles first contacted Kelly, who had them contact Swarbrick, which they did the day after firing coach Andy Reid in late December.

Swarbrick asked that any conversations wait until after the BCS title game. Meanwhile, back in early December, Swarbrick had assured Kelly that a new deal was forthcoming.

… A league source said Kelly never received an offer from the Eagles. Which is logical, because the franchise had asked for a second meeting with Kelly to take place next week, if he desired it. No offer would have arrived before then.

It’s not directly Eagles-related, but Dan Le Batard has a must-read piece on Jason Taylor and the pain of playing in the NFL in The Miami Herald:

Dolphins legend Jason Taylor, for example, grew up right before our eyes, from a skinny Akron kid to a future Hall of Famer, his very public path out in front of those lights for 15 years. But take a look at what was happening in the dark. He was just a few blessed hours from having his leg amputated. He played games, plural, with a hidden and taped catheter running from his armpit to his heart. His calf was oozing blood for so many months, from September of one year to February of another, that he had to have the equivalent of a drain installed. This is a story of the private pain endured in pursuit of public glory, just one man’s broken body on a battlefield littered with thousands of them.

COMING UP

Jay Gruden is expected to interview with the Eagles today. We also have our last Birds 24/7 show on 97.5 The Fanatic from 6 to 7. Stop by Smith’s at 19th and Chestnut if you’re in the area.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Report: Brian Billick Interviewed With Eagles

The Eagles interviewed Brian Billick on Monday and consider the former Ravens coach one of  the leading candidates, per Reuben Frank of CSN Philly.

According to Jason LaCanfora, the meeting lasted eight hours and the Eagles left “very impressed.”

Billick, currently an analyst for Fox, has been out of the game since 2007. The 58-year-old compiled a record of 80-64 in nine seasons as head coach of the Ravens, which included a Super Bowl championship in 2000.

The Ravens made it back to the playoffs three more times under Billick but never got past the divisional round. He was replaced by John Harbaugh following a 5-11 season in ’07.

Billick served as offensive coordinator of the Vikings from 1994-98. While offense was his specialty, it was the Baltimore defense that carried the team during much of his tenure.

Billick has been a staunch defender of Andy Reid’s, and has maintained that the Eagles will not find a coach better than him. He took his argument to another level back in late December with Mike Missanelli.

“There are going to be some excellent candidates for the Philadelphia Eagles job that have all the right credentials…the guy you get — and he may very well be exactly what the Eagles need — I’m telling you that with all that success, I’m telling you that at the end of the day, however you want to measure it, he’s not going to be play-for-play, game plan for game plan, evaluation for evaluation, a better coach over a 14-year period of time than Andy Reid,” Billick said. “He may have two or three or four Super Bowls and if that’s the outcome he should be admired for it, but I’m telling you that as someone who measures that on a daily basis that [he won't be better than Reid.]”

Now, there appears to be a chance that he could be the successor.

The Eagles promised to leave “no stone unturned” at the onset, and have stayed true to their word. It appears that they are in a new phase of the coaching search after early pursuit of college coaches Chip Kelly, Bill O’Brien and most recently, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly.

“There is no question we spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking at who we thought were the best collegiate candidates for our head coaching job. We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts,” the Eagles said in a statement. “We understood that going into the process, but we wanted to leave no stone unturned while trying to find the best head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. We have no regrets about the effort we made in that direction and we will continue to proceed as planned in our search.”

Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski are scheduled to meet with Jay Gruden on Monday and Bruce Arians on Tuesday. On Saturday they sat down with Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who is reportedly a leading candidate for the job.

With all the focus on the top assistants and college coaches, it looks like they snuck in an interview with Billick as well.

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Pressure Is On Now

The Eagles’ game plan heading into this coaching search now seems pretty obvious.

They were going to swing and swing hard at some of the big name college coaches early, and see if they couldn’t land a Kelly or an O’Brien or any collegiate coach with an Irish last name and some sizzle. There was an inherent risk in this strategy: such a pursuit will draw headlines, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to lure these guys out of some of the top programs in the country. Come up empty, and your quest will look like a failure.

After Brian Kelly became the third coach to deny their advances, the Eagles have to be stinging a bit. It has undoubtedly served as a reality check  that, while this is certainly a good job, it might not be as desirable as Jeffrey Lurie made it out to be when he called it “the most attractive place for a head coach to work in the National Football League.”

That said, they knew that striking out was a possibility, as evidenced by the number of interviews they have conducted or will conduct in the coming days. It might be Plan B, but there is a plan in place.

The trick now is to get one of the targeted assistants to say, “Yes.”  And the pool is dwindling.

Bruce Arians, slated to meet with the Eagles Tuesday, reportedly favors San Diego as a landing spot. Jay Gruden, interviewing with the Eagles Monday, has a few suitors and does not sound in a hurry to leave Cincinnati in the first place. Mike Nolan and Keith Armstrong  don’t appear to be moving the meter. A couple reporters have suggested that the interview with Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy did not go all that well; and Lovie Smith might have a tough time convincing Lurie that he can cure what ails the Eagles’ offense.

That seems to leave Gus Bradley as the most desirable/realistic candidate. His name is playing well in Philadelphia, he’s extremely well-respected by his peers, and his coaching acumen and personality appear to fit the bill.

But with a total of five openings across the NFL, who is to say they can land him?

Losing out on the college coaches is not the end of the world. But now the pressure is on.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Sheil with some details on Kelly’s decision to stay at Notre Dame.

The Eagles reportedly reached out to Bill Cowher about their coaching vacancy.

Kapadia details how the Eagles will have to proceed if they want to further pursue Bradley.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Paul Domowitch caught up with Monte Kiffin, who is very high on Bradley:

“I try not to exaggerate,” Kiffin, who once called Bradley a once-in-a-lifetime coach, told the Daily News in a telephone interview last week. “But this guy is good.

“I’ve told people I’ve talked to in the last week or so, if you interview him, there’s a good chance you’ll hire him. He’ll walk in [to the interview] and take over the room.”

Arians talked about his future with USA Today:

“I have a great job. I love it here so much,” Arians said. “I’ve never been treated with more respect in my career than I have here, so it would be hard to leave.

“It’s going to have to be a perfect fit for me to leave, but you always want to win one of those Super Bowls on your own.”

Irsay wouldn’t disclose how much he’s paying Arians as coordinator, but said he’s offered him a sizable six-figure increase to remain with the Colts.

“You want to have him here,” Irsay said, “but if he has an opportunity to be a head coach, it’s hard to stop that. Money can’t really stop that.”

COMING UP

Phase III of the coaching search. We’ll keep you up to speed.

Brian Kelly Staying Put; Now What?

We can scratch another name off the Eagles’ list.

Brian Kelly is staying put at Notre Dame, the school announced Saturday.

“This week, I had an incredible opportunity to speak with one of the premier organizations in sports about becoming their head coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL. However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame.”

Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com first reported the news.

Earlier in the day, the Eagles were rumored to be going “all-in” on Kelly. But he will not be the team’s next head coach.

In the past two weeks, the team has shown serious interest in Brian Kelly, Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, but all three coaches have decided to stay in the college ranks.

“There is no question we spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking at who we thought were the best collegiate candidates for our head coaching job,” the Eagles said in a statement. “We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts.”

“We understood that going into the process, but we wanted to leave no stone unturned while trying to find the best head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. We have no regrets about the effort we made in that direction and we will continue to proceed as planned in our search.”

The clear intention of the statement is to reinforce Jeffrey Lurie’s assertion that the Eagles job is among the best in the NFL.

So, where does the search go from here?

The Eagles were scheduled to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in Atlanta Saturday, a source confirmed. He would appear to be near the top of the list. The Eagles will also interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday and Bruce Arians on Tuesday, according to an NFL Network report.

The team has already interviewed Atlanta’s Mike Nolan, Atlanta’s Keith Armstrong, Denver’s Mike McCoy and former Bears coach Lovie Smith.

There are still five openings league-wide: Philadelphia, Arizona, Jacksonville, San Diego and Chicago. Lurie’s plan all along has been to be thorough. And now, there really appears to be no rush to name a new head coach.

Remember, Brian Kelly wasn’t thought to be on the Eagles’ radar until Wednesday night. So there could still be a mystery candidate. According to a report, the team at least inquired about Bill Cowher. And while the Eagles seem to be leaving no stone unturned, Jon Gruden has not yet been interviewed.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

 

Report: Eagles ‘Made Approaches’ On Bill Cowher

Jason LaCanfora put out a pretty potent Eagles tweet Sunday afternoon. He threw some cold water on the Eagles-Brian Kelly courtship and tied them to Bill Cowher, all in less than 140 characters.

While the Cowher nugget is certainly noteworthy, it doesn’t appear that the union will happen. There have been conflicting reports as to Cowher’s level of interest in returning to the sidelines. It looks like the debate can be put to bed.

This is all a little odd, considering Cowher reportedly told Newsday that he did see himself returning to coaching at some point. But it definitely doesn’t look like it’s happening now.

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »