Juan Castillo, now with the Ravens, talks Reid, Washburn, Eagles
NEW ORLEANS - Juan Castillo must have said the words hard work a thousand times during his tenure of less than two seasons as the Eagles defensive coordinator.
So when he was fired and unemployed for almost three months, the coach who would often spend 20 hours a day at the NovaCare Complex found it especially hard.
"I don't know that I've been through anything so hard in my life," Castillo said Tuesday. "And I think part of that is you keep going back and forth, 'What could I have done better?' "
Castillo is no longer out of a job. Hired by the Ravens last week to be a consultant, Castillo is back at the Super Bowl, of all places, three months after the man he once said he would take a bullet for fired him.
Andy Reid, who eventually followed Castillo out the door, offered him an assistant head coach position with the Chiefs. He had other offers as well, but Castillo said that he relished the opportunity to work again with Ravens coach John Harbaugh. The two were assistants with the Eagles for many years.
"I think it's just better for me and Coach [Reid]," Castillo said of passing on Reid's offer. "One day I'll come back to him."
Starting next week, Castillo, in a newly defined role, will become the Ravens' running-game coordinator. He said his responsibilities won't be much different from those he had when he was the Eagles' offensive line coach for 14 seasons.
Some had wondered if Castillo would return to the offensive side of the ball after failing as a defensive coordinator. Reid and others had intimated that he was looking to stay on defense. Asked if he wanted to coach offense or defense, Castillo would only say, "I'm a linebacker."
Reid's outside-the-box promotion of Castillo to defensive coordinator in January 2011 surprised many. There were struggles that season, but his play-calling seemed to improve late in 2011 and early this season.
But the Eagles blew two fourth-quarter leads in October, and Reid dumped Castillo and moved defensive backs coach Todd Bowles to defensive coordinator. The defense initially got worse as the season spun out of Reid's control.
Castillo said he did not feel vindicated.
"What was hard was that I wasn't there to help somebody that I respect and love fight for his job," Castillo said, referring to Reid.
In late November, Reid fired defensive line coach Jim Washburn, whose wide-nine scheme much of the defense was based upon. After Washburn was fired, there were reports that he had called Castillo "Juanita" to his face in front of players during team meetings.
Castillo said Washburn did it in jest.
"There's a lot of stuff that happens in meetings and you play around," Castillo said.
Asked if they still had problems, Castillo said, "I respect Jim as a coach, and I think he respects me as a coach."
Washburn was hired by the Lions last week.
Castillo has been helping the Ravens by breaking down film and compiling "cut-ups" for the coaches and players. He could be part of a championship-winning team come Sunday night.
"I'm just glad to be working," Castillo said.
Contact Jeff McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.