Jeffrey Lurie emerged after an emotional day at the NovaCare Complex to announce to the world that Andy Reid was no longer his head coach. His words were a far cry from those of Shakespeare’s Marc Antony, as Lurie sought to both praise Reid and bury him at the same time.
The Eagles owner gushed about Reid’s many accomplishments — six NFC East titles, five NFC championship games, one Super Bowl — in his 14 years at the helm. Lurie was also quick to let everybody know that, at some point down the road, Reid’s name would be etched into immortality.
“This man [Reid] is amazing to work with, smart and dedicated, and the record will speak for itself,” Lurie said. “I look forward to the day we all welcome him back and introduce him as a member of the Eagles’ Hall of Fame because that’s inevitable.”
Reid was fired at exactly 9 a.m. Monday, according to Lurie. The owner said he had been pondering the decision since the team fell to 4-8 and he already has compiled a list of potential candidates to take Reid’s spot. College coaches, former NFL bosses and hot assistants are all in play.
“There is no certain formula here. Everything is on the table,” Lurie said. “There are some outstanding college coaches out there and some outstanding coordinators out there. We’ll leave no stone unturned, and we’re open to all.”
Reid addressed the team, his staff and select members of the organization immediately after he met with Lurie. The coach didn’t come down to speak with the media, but people in the room at the time described the scene as surreal. One player said it was the most emotional he’s seen Reid since the tragic death of his son, Garrett.
"He's meant so much to us," said rookie Nick Foles. "He's been our leader. He's been our rock. It's tough on the players. It's just one of those days, a tough day."
As players cleaned out their lockers and prepared for the long, uncertain offseason ahead, one thing became ever apparent: Reid’s former players will always have his back.
LeSean McCoy claimed some of the newer guys on the roster just didn’t buy into Reid’s system. Jeremy Maclin cited a lack of respect. Jason Kelce noted a void of leadership. And Mike Vick openly called out teammates, then pondered the possibility of re-uniting with the man that saved his career perhaps in another city, with another team.
“You have to follow the leader,” Vick said. “If you don't then we end up in the situation we are in now, losing the head coach, a man that we love and have a great deal of respect for. A man that I played hard for. I gave him 100-percent."
For the current group of Eagles, the Reid era is officially over. Now, the team has to wait and see, to trust the front office to make the right decision and restore the franchise to glory — or, to borrow an old Lurie quote, to become the gold standard.
Roseman absolved from draft mistakes
After overseeing three mediocre (at best) drafts, Howie Roseman’s job security has been called into question by everyone from beat writers to casual fans. Forget that talk. Roseman appears to have more power than ever, and a groundswell of support from Jeffrey Lurie.
Lurie, with Roseman watching from a few yards away, absolved the Eagles general manager of the 2010 and 2011 drafts. He’s only on the hook for the 2012 draft, according to the owner.
“I keep voluminous notes on talent evaluation, not just who we draft but who is valued in each draft by each person that is in the organization,” Lurie said. “I came to the conclusion that the person who was providing by far the best talent evaluation in the building was Howie Roseman. I decided to streamline the whole decision-making process for the 2012 draft and offseason, and that’s the first draft and offseason I’m holding Howie completely accountable for.”
Roseman admitted that he had more input than usual in 2012, but he also pointed out that Andy Reid still had final say on draft decisions. Roseman met with almost every player on the roster Monday and warned of big personnel changes.
“We’re not happy with the chemistry of the team,” Roseman said. “It’s going to stop. We’re going to get to the bottom of the things that don’t work and make sure they do.”
Lurie said that the committee responsible for selecting a new head coach will consist of himself, Roseman and president Don Smolenski. Everyone will get an equal say, but the final decision rests with Lurie. He would prefer to hire a great leader, rather than someone with mind-blowing schemes.
“The new head coach will report directly to me,” Lurie said. “It’s important in terms of attracting the right coach. It’s important in terms of the autonomy that coach will have, and it also fosters an owner-coach relationship that I think benefits a football team in many, many ways.”
Dirk Koetter en route?
There was an internet rumor floating around that Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was already on his way into Philadelphia for an interview this week. Owner Jeffrey Lurie quickly shot that down, saying that he hasn’t contacted anyone about the opening.
“That is all starting today [Monday],” Lurie said.
However, Lurie did say that he has been compiling a list of candidates for the past month. Lurie wants to take his time with the coaching search, but he also knows acting swiftly is prudent. Seven teams were without head coaches after the NFL’s Black Monday, and there could be as many as a dozen openings by week’s end.
“We do have a very, very defined list of candidates. We hope to be able to meet with some of them as soon as possible,” Lurie said. “I think it’s better to find the right leader than it is to make the fastest decision.”