When the Eagles announced last week that Tom Gamble was leaving the 49ers to become the Eagles' vice president of player personnel, the obvious question was why?
Why would Gamble take a job that was in essence a lateral move, and leave a franchise that has had great recent success for a team that was starting over with a new head coach and from near bottom?
Gamble, who spoke to a handful of Eagles reporters today on the phone, admitted that his situation in San Francisco was great. But he said the allure of returning to the first NFL team he worked for, and to the area that he was raised proved too much to resist.
"I wasn't looking to go anywhere. I was in a great situation ... as good as it gets in this business," Gamble said. "But it was Philadelphia. For me, that means something."
Gamble began his career in 1988 working as a scout for the Eagles. His father, Harry, was the Eagles' president at the time. Gamble eventually became the college scouting coordinator before leaving in 1994.
He said he always wanted to return. Gamble said he spoke with Eagles general manager Howie Roseman last year after the draft, but decided to stay in San Francisco for various reasons. But after the 49ers lost in the Super Bowl earlier this month, Roseman called again and his offer, Gamble said, was too good to pass up.
"All I want to do is win and I know that's all [Roseman] wants to do and anybody in this building wants to do," Gamble said. "I got no angles. I got no agenda. All I want to do is be a part of a winner and would like nothing else than to do my part."
Gamble conceded that leaving the 49ers just before the Scouting Combine was unusual. But he said he had San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke's blessing and decided now was the right time to move.
He will be Roseman's right-hand man, filling a position that was left unfilled for a year after Ryan Grigson took the Colts GM job last January.
Gamble stayed away from answering specific questions about the Eagles' roster and how far he thinks the team is from contending. He was vague about his draft philosophy, but said he would mesh all that he learned at stops with the Eagles, Colts and 49ers in helping Roseman "whittle down his list."
Gamble interviewed for GM vacancies with the New York Jets and Jaguars this off-season, but did not get either job, he said, for reasons that were "some on my end and some on the other end." He did not say that becoming a GM was his ultimate goal, but it is obviously a step he wishes to someday take.
"If you win at anywhere you are and you're in a prominent position, those things are going to come up," Gamble said. "I don't come in every day [and] fixate on it. I don't think about it. To me, it's the inevitable if you have success and you're around success."