New Eagles player personnel vice president Tom Gamble said Wednesday he knew the timing for his departure from the San Francisco 49ers last week wasn't perfect from the 49ers' perspective, but it was from his, after Gamble talked extensively last year to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman about Gamble coming home to Philadelphia.
"The timing wasn't right (last year) for a lot of different reasons, some professional, some family," Gamble said on a conference call with reporters, as he prepared to head off for the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "Then this whole thing came up again. I have enough relationship with Howie, enough dialogue. Living out in Pac 12 country, I've got a lot of respect for Chip Kelly ... I've been in and out of his (Oregon) building, he's been in and out of (the 49ers') building, I think he's a hell of a football coach."
"We chatted again, and you know what, it was time. I was real excited about it. Again, I wasn't looking to go anywhere; I was in a great situation with some great people ... as good as it gets in this business," said Gamble, whose father Harry was the Eagles' president in the '80s, when the Birds gave Tom his NFL personnel start. "It's Philadelphia. That means something. It's a little bit different, this thing. There's not a lot of movement, not a lot of opportunity. I didn't know when it would come up again, and I was ecstatic to come back."
It's rare for a team to allow its personnel director to leave in the middle of draft prep, right before the combine, especially for what is basically a lateral move. Gamble, who interviewed for general manager openings this offseason, acknowledged having "a real tough conversation out there" but indicated while the 49ers weren't willing to let him come to the Eagles a year ago, when Ryan Grigson left to become GM in Indianapolis, they basically agreed that if the opportunity came up again this year, he could go.
"Not a great time of year, no question, but I think because of my relationships there, with our GM, Trent Baalke, the way we got along, the way we worked together with the head coach (Jim Harbaugh) ... they were nice enough to allow me to do it."
Gamble said right now he is "trying to jump in and help, any way I can."