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As another Kelly drops out, Eagles talk to Gus Bradley

bob grotz delco times

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:45 AM

Grotz

As another Kelly drops out, Eagles talk to Gus Bradley

Published: Sunday, January 13, 2013

By BOB GROTZ
bgrotz@delcotimes.com
@BobGrotz



Anyone else wondering what Jeffrey Lurie meant when he called the Eagles the most attractive opportunity for a head coach to work in the NFL?

The Eagles’ owner tried to explain himself after getting turned down Saturday by yet another college coach, as Brian Kelly pulled out of the competition to succeed Andy Reid, who was fired after 14 seasons.

John Heisler, senior athletic director for media and broadcast relations at Notre Dame, made it clear the Eagles were going in another direction with this short and sweet Saturday tweet: “Brian Kelly staying at Notre Dame.”

Chip Kelly of Oregon, once the Eagles’ top choice, and Bill O’Brien of Penn State also told Lurie thanks, but no thanks. They used the interviews to leverage their employers for raises.

“There is no question we spent a considerable amount of time and effort looking at who we thought were the best collegiate candidates for our head coaching job,” Lurie said in a statement. “We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts. We understood that going into the process but we wanted to leave no stone unturned while trying to find the best head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. We have no regrets about the effort we made in that direction and we will continue to proceed as planned in our search.”

Nevertheless, the Eagles continue to trudge down a road of anything but happy destiny. On Saturday they got together with Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, according to several reports.

Bradley and the Seahawks are in Atlanta to take on the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs at 1 p.m. today. If the Seahawks lose, the Eagles could hire Bradley before the end of the weekend, although they have interviews scheduled with other head coaching candidates.

The Eagles are scheduled to interview Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, the younger brother of Jon Gruden, Monday. They also have received permission to interview Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

Bradley, in his fourth season with the Seahawks, is the eighth candidate interviewed since the Eagles canned Reid Dec. 31 following a 4-12 finish. This season, his defense finished first in points allowed (15.3), fourth in yards (306.2) and tied for fourth in takeaways (31).

“He’s got a brilliant football mind,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week. “He’s got a way of reaching people and touching people and getting the best out of them, coaches and players alike. He’s got everything that you’re looking for.”

The Eagles ranked 29th in points and 15th in yards this year. The defense declined after Todd Bowles replaced Juan Castillo, fired as defensive coordinator in October.

Bradley, 46, began his NFL coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a defensive quality control coach in 2006. He was the Buccaneers’ linebackers coach the next two seasons before going to Seattle. Bradley coached in college from 1990-2005, including two stints at North Dakota State and four years at Fort Lewis College.

Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski interviewed former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith Thursday. They previously met with Atlanta Falcons assistants Mike Nolan and Keith Armstrong and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Brian Kelly effectively stomped out all talk of joining the Eagles as their head coach. His announcement was critical because the Fighting Irish risked losing recruits, with the Feb. 6 national letter of intent signing day looming.

It’s not known how serious the Eagles are about Smith. But he would be a hard sell as he was canned by the Bears after missing the playoffs for the fifth time in the past six years. Smith was a coach of the year candidate after leading the Bears to a 7-1 start this season, but they collapsed down the stretch and failed to reach the playoffs.

In other Eagles search news, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter cancelled an interview with the Eagles to sign a contract extension with the Falcons.