LES BOWEN, Daily News Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 12:47 AM
EAGLES FANS who'd hoped to see Gus Bradley's smiling face at a news conference Tuesday instead got only fleeting glimpses of the top of Bradley's shaved head, as the Seattle Seahawks' defensive coordinator stepped from a chartered jet into a black SUV, then from the SUV into team chairman Jeffrey Lurie's Wynnewood mansion.
If Bradley had any doubts about what a big deal it is in these parts to be the coach of the Eagles, the hovering-news-helicopter treatment probably cleared them up. The handful of fake Twitter accounts set up in homage to Bradley by eager Birds fans, who hung on every morsel of news, no matter how mundane, might not have hurt, either, assuming Bradley knows his way around Twitter.
But as the evening continued and no word issued forth, it was easy to wonder if the red carpet had been rolled out prematurely, if the "Gus Bus" was really ready for boarding.
Around 10 p.m., the Eagles confirmed their meeting with Bradley had ended. No more information was offered.
A source close to the situation posited early Tuesday that even though Bradley was the only candidate the Eagles have invited in for a second session, this was at least partly because his initial interview in the Atlanta area Saturday was abbreviated; the Seahawks were still preparing for their playoff game against the Falcons the next day. The source said the Eagles were bringing Bradley back not to sign on the dotted line, necessarily, but to finish their discussion.
Later, a team source endorsed this view, as the Eagles tried to keep premature rejoicing from breaking out in the streets.
The feeling Tuesday night was that Bradley remains the front-runner, and it will be a bit of a surprise if the Eagles let him go on to interview in Jacksonville Wednesday. But two sources said the Birds' brass also was quite taken with former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, who interviewed for about 4 hours on Monday.
Bradley, 46, and Whisenhunt, who turns 51 next month, would seem to be the finalists to succeed 14-year coach Andy Reid, with no more interviews scheduled, according to the team. Former Bears coach Lovie Smith also interviewed well last week, but the Eagles had no problem watching Smith go on to interview with other teams, and there has been no buzz about them getting back together. Former Ravens coach Brian Billick, who interviewed last week, doesn't look like a serious contender.
Eagles defensive end Darryl Tapp played a year for Bradley in Seattle before being traded to the Eagles. Tapp said Tuesday that Bradley is "energetic, motivated and a genuinely good dude, knows his stuff.
"If hired, he will be a true asset," Tapp said.
Former Dobbins High and Temple star Raheem Brock also played for Bradley in Seattle.
"He's the kind of guy that listens to his players," Brock said last night on Comcast SportsNet's "Daily News Live." "He's a players' coach; he demands the best out of his players. He's an all-around great coach, a great guy."
Brock discussed the YouTube video, very popular among Eagles fans, that shows Bradley gathering his defense and demanding "Do your job!" with the Seahawks losing a 2010 game to Indianapolis.
"He'll bring everybody together and get everybody going," said Brock, who had nine sacks for Seattle in 2010. "He's not the type of guy that will yell at one guy; if it's the defensive line, he'll bring 'em together and tell 'em, 'You gotta be accountable' . . . He's passionate; he's going to yell and scream sometimes."
Brock said Bradley likes to blitz, and that he thinks Eagles fans "will love his passion for the game."
The Eagles' website interviewed NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock at practice for the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Mayock said he liked the idea of Bradley for the Eagles.
"Wherever he goes, good defense follows," Mayock told interviewer Bo Wulf. "One of the things I like about him is, all of his players talk real positively about him; they love playing for Gus Bradley. If you look at Seattle's defense, they play fast, they play hard, they're young, they're aggressive. It's a little bit of a reflection of how [head coach] Pete Carroll wants it, and a little bit of what Gus Bradley wants.
"I think wherever Gus goes, whatever he does, all three phases of the game are going to be aggressive. I think he's the kind of guy that would appeal to the city of Philadelphia - kind of a blue-collar, roll-your-sleeves-up-and-go-to-work guy."
The Eagles signed a tackle named Allen Barbre, 6-4, 305, who played part of the 2012 season for the Seahawks after stints with the Packers and Dolphins.
On Twitter: @LesBowen
LES BOWEN Daily News Staff Writer email@example.com