There was something absurdly wonderful, a tantalizing pot-and-kettle moment, when the Eagles got their beaks out of joint this week because someone said something that turned out to be, well, not exactly the truth.

You could almost hear the sighs emanating from the NovaCare bunker when the phones started ringing and media outlets from across the country were on the line to ask whether Jon Gruden was about to become head coach in place of Andy Reid. Was Little Blond really going to bump Big Red from his job? Had owner Jeffrey Lurie really returned from vacation and said, "He made who the defensive coordinator?"

The world wanted to know. The world needed to know. And the world was chasing this thing because - oh, all right, because former Eagles fullback Kyle Eckel posted the rumor on his Facebook page. I mean, you need more to go on than that?

Well, the truth is that story breaks have come from lesser sources - although not much lesser. Cab drivers mention a fare they just had. Hotel clerks let slip who just checked in. An athlete's mother gets all bittersweet on her blog. These things happen today.

It was far-fetched, though. Most organizations wouldn't let a departing head coach rumble around for three weeks, not counting time in the Caribbean, and allow him to rearrange the coaching staff the way a Labrador retriever's tail rearranges the coffee table. If anything, Reid appeared to be more in charge than ever before, but it still was worth a phone call. Has Eckel ever gotten one of these wrong?

The organization answered the phone until midmorning Monday - peak billing hours! - before issuing the following statement: "Early this morning we received several inquiries regarding the rumors regarding Andy Reid and Jon Gruden. This was simply a rumor and there is no basis to it at all. It is simply not true."

There you had it, and if there is one organization that should be expert on what is not true, it is the Eagles. Reid, particularly, specializes in not true. He revels in it. He uses it the way Yo-Yo Ma uses a cello.

So, in a way, it was poetic, leaving aside justice, that the Eagles had to deal with someone else lying for a change. (Eckel later clarified things by saying he wasn't lying, he merely was passing along something about which he had no knowledge. "Your guess is as good as mine," he added, cheerfully.)

From the moment the season ended - 27 yards from a game-winning touchdown against the Packers - the Eagles went into their standard lockdown mode in which your guess really was as good as anyone's concerning the team's true intentions.

The most illuminative example is Reid's handling of the firing of defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. Reid, who would rather say, "I think January is a great month for a vacation," than utter the words, "I fired Sean McDermott," lied throughout the process. He likes to refer to it as "buying time," but the purchase is financed by the good will of the fans.

We're all grown-ups here. Coaches and administrators aren't going to comment on certain things. That's expected. Those who support the team and fill the stadium and pay the salaries can accept a no-comment. They deserve better than a look-in-your-eye lie.

As he was sticking by the tale that McDermott would return, Reid also was contacting new Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, according to reporting by The Inquirer's Jeff McLane. Reid wanted it to appear as if McDermott simply had decided to switch coordinator jobs, taking a lateral move for some unknown reason.

"Andy wanted it to be seamless, and unfortunately it wasn't," Rivera said. "Andy's whole guise in my discussion with him was, 'We've got to make people understand that it was not as much because Sean did a bad job or anything. It was just as much always going to be tough and unfair for him. We've got to create a situation.' "

In other words, we've got to construct a nice little fairy tale with a happy ending for everyone. It might have worked, too, just as the organization papered over Tom Heckert's lateral move to Cleveland, except that the story of McDermott's firing broke. And it wasn't even Eckel who got that one.

Maybe Reid actually convinced himself McDermott could never succeed because he was following Jim Johnson, or maybe he was just selling that line to Rivera. Maybe he mentioned that some players regarded the outgoing coordinator as a know-it-all who never made a mistake. Maybe he dismissed that as typical finger-pointing in the locker room. It's hard to tell what to believe because - this just in - Andy doesn't always tell the truth.

So don't worry about it, Kyle. A little misdirection never hurt anyone, and it seems you're in good company. If nothing else, you qualify to be at least assistant GM around here.