THE EAGLES talked to 11 coaching candidates in January 2013 before their first choice, Chip Kelly, reconsidered his decision to stay at Oregon. Bruce Arians was the path - or maybe the Kangol cap - not taken.
There was talk at the time of a pending Arians interview with the Eagles, and sure enough, Arians told a conference call yesterday that one was scheduled. Arians said he went to interview in Chicago, and while he was there, the Browns, Chargers and Eagles all canceled interviews.
Stories from that time indicate the Eagles were supposed to talk to Arians later in the week that they brought in Gus Bradley - amid great fanfare - and reopened talks with Kelly, something that quickly developed into hiring Kelly.
Asked whether he'd been disappointed, Arians said he'd gone to Chicago expecting to get the Bears job. To come home without it and have three other opportunities disappear "was like a double whammy."
Of course, Arians is pretty happy to be coaching the 11-2 Cardinals now, with the top offense and the No. 4-ranked defense in the NFL. He said he'd initially resisted interviewing in Arizona because the Cards had just fired Ken Whisenhunt, his fellow former Steelers assistant, and there were other former Steelers staffers there Arians knew he wouldn't be keeping if he got the job. Better to avoid all that, until it turned out Arizona was the last head-coaching job left.
"I never got an answer (from the teams that canceled) but 'Thanks but no thanks,' " Arians said. "The day I was at the Bears, three other teams decided to go in a different direction."
Asked whether the Eagles' decision was particularly disappointing, Arians, who went to high school in York, said, "Oh, yeah. Heck, yeah. Philly's like home, close to home."
He said that having coached at Temple from 1983-88, he'd have known "how to get to the hospital."
Arians opened the conference call with: "How 'bout those Temple Owls, baby! What a year!"
Cornerback Byron Maxwell sat out practice again Wednesday with an ankle sprain Maxwell said he suffered when safety Ed Reynolds got tangled with him on Sammy Watkins' 47-yard touchdown catch Sunday. But though Maxwell said he could "hardly walk" on Tuesday, he said he intends to practice Thursday and expects to be fine for Sunday night's test from the league's most diverse passing attack.
Maxwell played through the injury against Buffalo.
"It's not going to be an issue out there," he said.
Cornerback Mike Lee, cut from the Eagles' practice squad, was driving to his father's house in Newark, N.J., Tuesday afternoon, within a few miles of his destination, he said, when he got a phone call from the Eagles.
Lee said that when he was leaving NovaCare, coaches had told him to stay ready, they might need him again. Turned out, they needed him right away; Craig Bills, the safety they'd signed to take Lee's place, had failed his physical. Welcome back, Mike. Happy holidays.
"I got off the turnpike, made a U-turn and came right back," Lee said after Wednesday's practice.
Chip Kelly has said previously that there is no ability to audible in his tempo system, but Wednesday, Kelly said it's "a big misconception" that Sam Bradford is unable to change plays. "Sam does a lot of things for us at the line of scrimmage," he said . . . Wideout Jordan Matthews (back) was a limited practice participant Wednesday. He said he is getting better . . . Guards Allen Barbre (calf) and Matt Tobin (knee), who missed Tuesday's practice, were full participants Wednesday.
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