BETHLEHEM -- Bob LaMonte, agent for Eagles coach Andy Reid, said Saturday that team owner Jeffrey Lurie has repeatedly told LaMonte that Reid will coach the team as long as Lurie owns it, making the issue of a contract for Reid less pressing than if might seem, as Reid enters the next-to-last season of his current deal.
Reid, entering his 14th season, is the longest-tenured current NFL coach, and is both the winningest coach in Eagles history and the longest to serve. His agent was making his annual visit to Lehigh.
"He's very much at peace with this organization and this football team, and I think he's very positive," LaMonte said. "I think he feels confident in his staff, confident in ownership, probably, they've been together so long. There's kind of a comfort zone -- everybody's doing the things that are right. And when you come to work every day and everybody's doing the things that are right, it gives you a great comfort."
LaMonte said Reid is more relaxed than LaMonte has ever seen him -- a perception widely held during training camp before the death of Reid's eldest son, Garrett, last Sunday.
The obvious inference RE the more relaxed Andy is that it has something to do with the departure of former Eagles president Joe Banner -- the only member of the organization who ever said Reid needed to win a Super Bowl to get a new pact. LaMonte danced around the Banner issue, saying he only knew what he read in the papers. (An obvious falsehood; we all know no one reads papers anymore.)
LaMonte was pressed several times on the Reid contract. Despite LaMonte's efforts to portray it as a nonissue, the fact is, Reid has never before gotten this close to a contract expiration without getting an extension. LaMonte suggested that an extension is such a given, it might even be more or less worked out between Reid and Lurie, since they are so close and have done this before.
He also said Reid has earned the right to decide whether he wants to continue here, as much as Lurie has the right to decide wihether to renew him. "I see him doing this as long as he wants to do it," LaMonte said.
LaMonte acknowledged that Lurie, in his extraordinary speech following last season's disappointing 8-8 finish, spoke of having pondered whether change was necessary. But LaMonte also said that "Jeffrey Lurie has told me every time I've spoken with him that Andy Reid will be his head coach as long as he owns the team."
LaMonte said that whenever Reid does leave the Eagles, reporters (and presumably fans) will say: "Wow! We never knew how good we had it."
In any case, LaMonte seems to anticipate, as many observers do, that the Eagles will be pretty good this year, will make the playoffs for the 10th time under Reid, and the coach will get some sort of extension.
LaMonte also represents general manager Howie Roseman and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. Mornhinweg interviewed for the head coaching job in Oakland this past offseason but didn't get it. LaMonte suggested that for a middleaged former head coach like Mornhinweg, there is a perception problem, with the league favoring younger, new-to-the-scene assistants.