Pat Shurmur Calls Kelly Firing ‘Very Unfortunate’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Jeffrey Lurie called Pat Shurmur down to his office on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after meeting with Chip Kelly to inform the Eagles’ former head coach he was being let go.

News of Kelly’s firing hadn’t yet traveled to Shurmur’s ear; he was confused by why he was being called down to Lurie’s office.

“It’s not very often you get called down to the owner’s office,” Shurmur said Thursday.

Shurmur walked into Lurie’s office and didn’t seem to be cued in on the news.

“He said, ‘Well, you haven’t heard, have you?'” Shurmur said. “I said, “No, I haven’t.” Then he told me he had let Coach Kelly go.”

Lurie asked Shurmur if he would be the interim head coach for the team’s final week and game, against the Giants this Sunday, and Shurmur agreed.

Shurmur, who some believe could be in the running for the full-time head coaching position when the team looks at candidates, said he’s not treating Sunday’s game like an audition for the job. Lurie and Howie Roseman told Shurmur that he should focus on coaching and doing what he can to beat the Giants.

“At this point, my focus is on Sunday,” Shurmur said. “We all know change is in the air. We just have to kind of talk about [head coaching] decisions as we move forward.

“I’m certainly excited to help finish out this year. It’s very unfortunate Mr. Lurie felt like a change was necessary, but we have to go play the Giants.”

Shurmur said he has texted with Kelly since Tuesday.

“I did, yeah. We spoke like we do on a daily basis, no more, no less,” Shurmur said. “[Kelly] kind of told me what happened in the meeting, it was very brief with Mr. Lurie, as to what was said. We wished each other well, and that was it.”

Shurmur will be moving down from his perch in the coaches’ box, where he watched games during Kelly’s tenure, to the field on Sunday, and he will be in charge of calling offensive plays. The 50-year-old said he doesn’t play on making many changes to the team’s scheme or system for the final game.

“I think we started something in motion here, the players are used to doing things a certain way, and very many, many of the things we’re doing are right,” Shurmur said. “So we’re going to try to keep it as business as usual as it can be in a very odd week.”

He wouldn’t touch on whether he would make changes if given more time with the team.

Shurmur, who has been around a number of NFL teams in his time in the league, said he learned plenty from Kelly in the last three years.

“I’ve been greatly impressed by these three years. I certainly learned something new every day, and I like to think that a lot of what we’ve done here is right,” Shurmur said. “I really do. I certainly have a strong philosophy that was developed under Andy Reid, and then working for Steve Spanguolo, and then, my goodness, the time I spent with Mike Holmgren. You’re talking about Hall of Fame guys. I learned a deal from them.

“So that was the core of my former life, and then in these last three years, certainly, I’ve learned a lot of things that I really, really believe in. I think there’s a good blend.”

Shurmur spent a decade with the Eagles, from 1999 to 2008, as the team’s tight ends coach and then quarterbacks coach, before leaving for jobs with the Rams and Browns.

When asked whether the organization’s head coaching job still has the sway in the league that it once did, Shurmur was effusive in his praise for the organization.

“Absolutely. I have very strong feelings for this organization; I’m at the end of my thirteenth year here,” Shurmur said. “I’ve grown to really appreciate how strong this organization is. As you go through years, you win games, you lose games. You work with some really fine people in the building.

“Every year, as you put a staff together, you have a new combination of coaches. All my years here have been terrific. We haven’t won every game, but all my years here have been great, and I certainly think this is an outstanding opportunity for anybody who wants to coach.”

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