Tom Gamble, the personnel executive the Eagles pursued ardently before he agreed to come home to Philly two years ago, has been abruptly dismissed. He was perceived to be close with Eagles coach Chip Kelly. The move was announced with quotes from general manager Howie Roseman, nothing from Kelly.
"We thank Tom for his service over the past two seasons and wish him and his family best as they move forward," Roseman said in the team's statement, which said Gamble and the organization had agreed to "part ways."
"I appreciate all Tom has done for our scouting department and our team."
When he hired Gamble away from the 49ers in in February 2013, Roseman said he'd pursued the Haddonfield Memorial High grad for more than a year, since Ryan Grigson left the Eagles to become general manager in Indianapolis.
"Just finding someone to replace Ryan, we wanted to get the right guy, a person who we thought could come in and fit with the people we have here … Tom Donohoe (former Steelers and Bills GM), Rick Mueller (former Saints player personnel director), Ed Marynowitz (former University of Alabama personnel director)," Roseman told a conference call with reporters. "He's going to really fill the void we've had since Ryan left."
Gamble's departure, two days after Kelly called him "a heckuva football guy," certainly will raise speculation about a power struggle between Roseman and Kelly. However, Kelly was answering a question about whether the Eagles would support Gamble's potential candidacy for a GM job elsewhere, and Kelly said he would, indicating he was open to Gamble leaving.
No one attached any importance to it at the time, but when team chairman Jeffrey Lurie spoke with reporters following Sunday's season finale at the Giants, Lurie praised Kelly, Roseman, and team president Don Smolenski. He did not mention Gamble.
Gamble did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday. It could be that he is taking a job somewhere else without the Eagles' blessing - his return to Philly had to do with the health of his father, former Eagles general manager Harry Gamble, who since has passed away. There was much speculation last week that if Jim Harbaugh took another NFL job after leaving San Francisco, he would want Gamble as his GM. But Harbaugh signed to coach Michigan.
Mueller, meanwhile, has been linked to the Jets' general manager opening. One of the criticisms of Roseman when he ascended to the Eagles' GM post was that he didn't have an NFL personnel background, so he assembled a team of advisors who had extensive such backgrounds. But for whatever reason, the Eagles' 2012 and 2013 drafts - run by Roseman - look much better right now than the 2014 draft, which seemed more of a Kelly production.