Just when things semed to be settling down in the land of the Eagles comes today's NFL notes column by the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer. Fifth item down is a bit of news that ought to keep local radio talk show hosts chattering for a while. Farmer cites two league sources as telling him that Eagles coach Andy Reid was ready to "walk away" from the team if he didn't get more personnel control this offseason. Farmer says Reid got what he wanted, and then he lists the Birds' moves so far. The implication is that some of the moves, like the re-signings of DeSean Jackson, Todd Herremans, Evan Mathis and Trent Cole are examples of Andy stepping in and taking care of his guys.
"As far as personnel control, I have had final say on personnel matters for quite some time here, and that's never been an issue or a point of contention," Reid said today in a statement released by the team, in response to the LA Times piece. "Our front office works very well together and that's one of our strengths."
Farmer also said Reid was willing to look into Peyton Manning when Manning hit the market, but as we know, Manning didn't want to play for a division rival of his borther Eli. That's not too shocking; you have to look into possible Hall of Fame QBs when they become available, whether you really see yourself acquiring them or not.
"We look into everything, as all teams do," Reid said in the statement. "And I have the highest regard for Peyton Manning. But as I said publicly last month, that wasn't the direction we were heading in. Michael (Vick) is our guy."
What to make of this? First off, Sam Farmer is a fine, trustworthy reporter. If he says two people told him this, they did. Did those two people really know what they were talking about? A tougher call, since we don't know anything about them.
We're further handicapped by the fact that the Eagles' front office hierarchy is anything but transparent. Officially, as was noted in the statement, Reid already had dominion over personnel; general manager Howie Roseman and team president Joe Banner are always careful to maintain that Reid has final say over moves. In recent years, the truth of this has been less than clear. Scuttlebutt has held that Reid ceded some control to Banner and Roseman back when he took that sabbatical to deal with his sons' legal problems in 2007, and the landscape was permanently changed.
As far as the statement, I wasn't really expecting, "yeah, that's exactly what's happened." Here is what I do know: I've perceived a bit of Banner-Reid friction ever since Banner's comments after the 2010 season about Reid needing to win the Super Bowl to get another contract, to replace the one that now has two years left. I interviewed Reid's agent, Bob LaMonte, last August for a story about the pressure facing the coach. LaMonte really, really didn't like Banner's implication. In fact, he said he felt the next move for Reid would be to add a title like "team president." That would be Banner's title.
But it also needs to be said that while Roseman and Reid have been in the spotlight, and Banner has kept an extremely low public profile lately, Reid has given no hint of dissatisfaction with anything, on or off the record, at least to us locals.
Not sure we're ever going to know the whole truth here, but it's interesting to try to read the tea leaves.