Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie spoke for nearly 16 minutes Friday but took no questions before yielding the floor to new coach Nick Sirianni. Lurie touched on many topics, including Duce Staley, the ex-Eagles running back who coached the running backs and was assistant head coach to Doug Pederson, before accepting the same title with the Detroit Lions this week.
Staley was the only internal candidate who interviewed for the job that went to Sirianni. He’d also interviewed for the head-coaching position in 2016, before Pederson was hired.
“I also want to take a moment to thank the [assistant] coaches we have worked with that won’t be with us going forward, because some of them, many of them, have been just terrific partners, and we won a Super Bowl together,” Lurie said. “In the case of some, they’ve been with us and with me for a long, long time. Communicated directly with many. Without COVID, would have been able to personally spend time with them.
“I want to single them out in terms of their contribution. It’s not easy to win a Super Bowl. It’s not easy to be in the playoffs three of the last four years. They deserve a lot of credit.
“In particular, just because he’s kind of like a son to me, I just want to talk about Duce. Duce is somebody very special to me. He’s been a terrific player, coach, leader for us. He’ll always be a Philadelphia Eagle. He and I talked well into the night the other night.
“I love the man. I just believe, I think he believes, that it’s best for his goal of being a head coach in the league to work for another organization for a while and set himself up the way many of the candidates have. It will help him. I just want the best for him. I think he’ll be an excellent leader for wherever he is in the future. I just want to share that love for Duce, because he’s very special.”
Pederson, the only Eagles head coach to ever win a Super Bowl, did not get a shout-out from the owner. His name was not mentioned in the 53-minute Zoom news conference.
Sirianni said Colts head coach Frank Reich played a role in convincing him that offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland should be retained. Stoutland has run the Eagles’ O-line since Chip Kelly hired him from Alabama in 2013.
“His tape speaks for itself,” Sirianni said. He said that in 2018, when he came to work with Reich in Indianapolis, they watched a lot of tape from their time together with the Chargers, but they also watched Eagles tape, with Reich fresh from having won the Super Bowl as the Birds’ offensive coordinator.
“You just saw his offensive line playing really well, over and over again. You could see the fundamentals and technique that his offensive line played with. You could see how hard they played. That was noticeable, without even saying a thing,” Sirianni said. “Then to hear how Frank Reich talks about ‘Coach Stout’ was unbelievable. He loves him and always talks about him. It was almost as if I knew him. ... Then to chat with him on the phone [after Sirianni became the Eagles’ coach], it was a no-brainer. His resume speaks for itself, a phenomenal coach that gets the best out of his players, and so excited he’s part of this staff.”