SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sean McDermott might not have gotten a formal interview with the Eagles for their head coaching vacancy, but the Panthers defensive coordinator said that he spoke to the team early in the process.

"We did talk," McDermott said Monday during Super Bowl media night. "We had some preliminary talks. It was clear from the beginning they wanted to go offense."

McDermott said he spoke to Howie Roseman, the team's vice president of football operations, the day after the regular season ended.

The Eagles interviewed only offensive-minded coaches and eventually hired Chiefs coordinator Doug Pederson. McDermott and Pederson worked together for two seasons as Eagles assistants on different sides of the ball.

"I really feel good for Doug and the direction [the Eagles are] heading," McDermott said. "Doug's a good person. It's got to be the right fit at the right time. Them looking for an offensive coach, obviously, my defensive background apparently didn't fit."

McDermott interviewed with the Buccaneers and Browns for their openings. He had only one week to meet with teams because Carolina kept advancing through the postseason. The Panthers face the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.

McDermott, 40, is trying to accomplish something his mentor, the late Jim Johnson, never accomplished with the Eagles: winning a championship. If that were to happen, the La Salle College High School product would likely vault to the top of head coaching candidates next offseason.

While the Bucs ultimately promoted offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and the Browns hired Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, McDermott reportedly interviewed well.

"You can go out there and throw your line out there and not get an invite and say, 'Hey, well,' or you get the feedback and it's negative or you didn't handle this right or that right," McDermott said. "The feedback I got was very, very positive. And I think it was more a result of the process.

"It'll come at some point."

McDermott was fired by Andy Reid in 2010 after two seasons following Johnson. He then took the Panthers job and has helmed one of the best units year in and year out. None of the six head coaches hired this offseason came from a predominately defensive background.

Last year, five defensive-minded coaches were hired - Rex Ryan (Bills), John Fox (Bears), Jack Del Rio (Raiders), Todd Bowles (Jets), and Dan Quinn (Falcons).

"It runs in cycles," McDermott said. "Maybe next year some defensive guys will get some love."

Norwood's long ride

Jordan Norwood never thought he'd last this long in the NFL. His seventh season has been his best, and the Broncos wide receiver will play in Sunday's Super Bowl.

"Coming out of college, someone said, 'Jordan Norwood, he could play 10 years in the NFL,' and I was like, 'I didn't get drafted,' " Norwood said. "It's just been an incredible journey, certainly a blessing. I don't even have words for it."

That someone was former Penn State receiver Tony Johnson, who never had more than a cup of coffee in the NFL. But the words resonated with Norwood, also a product of the Nittany Lions, and he's more than halfway there.

Norwood bounced around the NFL in his first five seasons. He played one game for the Eagles as a rookie. He played three seasons with the Browns and caught 36 passes for 405 yards and one touchdown. But he was back on the street and briefly with the Bucs in 2013 before Denver signed him to their practice squad in 2014.

He didn't play last season, but he has become the Broncos' third or fourth receiver (22 catches for 207 yards) and has occasionally returned punts. Most of time, he said, people just want to know what it's like catching passes from Peyton Manning.

"You don't even know what to say about catching passes from one of the best to ever do it," Norwood said. "I'll look back on it and be able to tell my kids."

Manning's future

Manning declined to look beyond Sunday's game when asked repeatedly whether it would be his last.

"I haven't made my mind up, and I don't see myself knowing that until after the season," the 39-year-old Broncos quarterback said.

jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane