Birds Add Lovie to List, Deny Gruden Report

The Eagles finally received permission to talk to Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday. (Al Behrman/AP)

Updating the Eagles' head coaching search, the Eagles announced Tuesday they will talk Thursday with former Bears head coach Lovie Smith. They also denied a report that they have a Wednesday interview set up with Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

That last part is a little odd, in that the Eagles asked for and received permission to talk to Gruden. Maybe they're doing it today? Or they've pushed it down the line, since Gruden's team is out of the playoffs, and he is hardly Chip Kelly, in the NFL hiring hierarchy?

Gruden didn't seem to be exactly anticipating getting a head-coaching job when he spoke with Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer Tuesday.

Asked about turning down interviews last year, but accepting them this time, Gruden said: "I figured I'd better say 'yes,' or they'll quit asking me. I think it will be a great experience and it's exciting. I have every intention of coming back here. We've got a great group of guys here. We''re excited for the future here; win 19 games in two years with a young group, with a rookie quarterback two years ago, rookie receiver ... the future is very, very bright here."

No word still on when the interview with Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is going to happen. Has to be this week, before the Seahawks visit the Falcons on Sunday.

Smith, 54, was 81-63 as the Bears' head coach, but was fired after the 10-6 team missed the playoffs this season. despite having gone 7-1 through the first eight games.

Smith, who has a defensive background, is hardly the young innovator Jeffrey Lurie spoke of when asked what he was looking for in a coach, the day Lurie fired Andy Reid. But that template might have been built to fit Kelly and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, who both have decided to stick with the college game.

It's also possible the Eagles aren't really that focused on Smith, but when a veteran head coach with a decent resume comes available, and you know you aren't getting your top targets, you feel like you have to at least kick the tires.