By Jeff McLane
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said that the Eagles would remain patient in their search for the team's next head coach.
Asked if the process was taking longer than he had imagined -- the Eagles are ten days in -- Roseman said that owner Jeffrey Lurie was adamant "that the key is getting the right guy. The key isn’t getting the right guy as quickly as possible."
The Eagles have interviewed five candidates thus far, have another scheduled for tomorrow and have been granted permission to interview three more coaches. They were also set to meet with two other possibilities, but those interviews were canceled after one coach stayed with his team and the other signed with another team.
Lurie, Roseman and team president Don Smolenski aggressively pursued Oregon coach Chip Kelly and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien out of the chute. They interviewed both last week. Kelly's interview lasted nine hours and he took a day to decide on whether he wanted to leave for the NFL, but ultimately elected to stay at Oregon. O'Brien met with Eagles last Thursday and decided later that day that he wasn't leaving State College.
The Eagles were granted permission to interview Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but he signed a contract extension and stayed in Atlanta last week. The team was also set to meet with Syracuse coach Doug Marrone on Sunday, but he agreed to become the Bills' next head coach only hours earlier.
Because a number of the coaches linked to the Eagles have dropped out for various reasons, some are wondering if the team is as attractive as Lurie claimed it was last week after he fired Andy Reid. Roseman was asked what made the Eagles attractive to candidates.
"They know we have a great owner who’s going to support and give as much resources as possible to make sure we succeed," Roseman said. "They know that we just supported a coach for 14 years. So we’re built that way. This whole organization is built to support a head coach. They know that not only in action but in words. All they have to do is call Andy Reid."
"We’ve developed a family here. People that have been here have been here a long time. They’ve grown together. … Not saying we’re a perfect franchise by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a great tribute to Jeffrey and what he’s building here.”
Reid signed a five-year contract with the Chiefs last week. He and Marrone are the only two head coaching hires thus far. The Browns, Bears, Cardinals and Chargers, along with the Eagles, are still looking for head coaches.
Aside from Kelly and O'Brien, the Eagles have also interviewed Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. They are slated to interview former Bears coach Lovie Smith on Thursday. And they have been granted permission to meet with Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
Some believe that McCoy will land in Chicago and that Arians will end up in San Diego. The Eagles are the only team thus far to ask to speak with Bradley.
In other Eagles-related news, trainer Rick Burkholder will visit with the Chiefs to see if he wants to follow Andy Reid to Kansas City.
The Eagles' long-time head athletic trainer is still under contract, but the team is "allowing him to seek an opportunity" with Reid "if that is what is in Rick's best interest," a spokesman said.
Burkholder was Reid's wing man for 14 seasons. He joined the Eagles after spending six seasons as an assistant athletic trainer with the Steelers.