Eagles lose top scout Brett Veach to Chiefs

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Eagles lose top scout Brett Veach to Chiefs

With the start of free agency right around the corner and the NFL draft less than two months away, the Eagles have lost a significant member of their personnel department.

Brett Veach, who was entering his fourth season in the scouting department and third as the team’s Southeast region scout, left the team to reunite with Andy Reid in Kansas City for an undetermined scouting role for the Chiefs.

Veach first broke into the NFL as an intern with the Eagles in 2004 and was later hired as Reid’s assistant in 2007. He ascended quickly in the front office and was considered one of the team’s keenest scouts.

“Basically, an opportunity presented itself in Kansas City to be a part of Coach Reid’s staff again and [general manager] John Dorsey staff, and it was an opportunity I was excited about,” Veach, a native of Mount Carmel, Pa., and former University of Delaware standout, told CSNPhilly.com.

Veach said he left on great terms with the Eagles, calling his time there “six unbelieveable years” of learning under general manager Howie Roseman, former player personnel chief Ryan Grigson (now the Colts’ general manager) and director of college scouting Anthony Patch.

“Those guys taught me everything I know to this point,” Veach said. “You’re talking about three really sharp minds that I learned from every day.”

Veach left the Eagles shortly after the NFL Scouting Combine in late February and said Roseman graciously allowed him to go. The Eagles didn’t respond to comment and it’s unclear if they’ve filled Veach’s spot.

Ed Marynowitz, who joined the Eagles’ staff last May as assistant director of pro scouting, represented the Eagles at Miami’s and Florida International’s Pro Days on Thursday. Marynowitz had been the director of player personnel at the University of Alabama for four years before he joined the Eagles.

But Veach’s departure leaves the Eagles without one of their most prominent field scouts during the most critical time period for general managers and coaches to lean heavily on their personnel staff. Free agency starts 4 p.m. Tuesday and the draft starts April 25.

For the next seven weeks, personnel staffs will be hosting college prospects for interviews along with traveling the countryside to examine more prospects at Pro Days and private workouts. One league source said NFL teams rarely let scouts get away in the heart of the pre-draft process.

Several of the Eagles’ draft picks over the past few years have come from the prospect-rich Southeast region and from the prestigious Southeastern Conference, including last year’s first-round pick, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. The Eagles traded up to pluck Cox at 12th overall.

The Eagles also picked cornerback Brandon Boykin in the fourth round. Boykin edged incumbent Joselio Hanson for the nickelback job and played the position all year, along with returning kickoffs.

After his internship in 2004, Veach went back to work in Delaware’s athletic department until his second chance to work for Reid came in 2007, when he was named assistant to the head coach. He served that position for three years until his promotion to college and pro scout in 2010.

Veach was assigned to study wide receivers in 2008 leading up to the draft. That year, the Eagles picked DeSean Jackson in the second round. Jackson has made two Pro Bowls.

The Eagles promoted Veach to regional college scout in 2011 and assigned Veach to the country’s most fertile ground for college football standouts.

When the chance came to work again for Reid, who was fired by the Eagles at the end of last season and quickly hired by the Chiefs, Veach embraced the opportunity.

“Now I get a chance to work with John Dorsey,” Veach said. “It was just an exciting opportunity to learn from another great NFL mind.”

Best of NHL: Maple Leafs topple Blue Jackets to boost playoff hopes

Best of NHL: Maple Leafs topple Blue Jackets to boost playoff hopes

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- William Nylander and Leo Komarov each had a goal and an assist and the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri also scored, and Frederik Andersen had 32 saves as Toronto stayed in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Atlantic Division. Nikita Zaitsev scored an empty-net goal after the Blue Jackets pulled their goalie for a sixth skater near the end.

David Savard and Brandon Saad scored for Columbus, which lost for the first time in the last five games. Backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo stopped 26 shots. The Blue Jackets stayed in third place in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind leader Washington and one behind Pittsburgh. They play the Capitals in Washington on Thursday night (see full recap).

Ladd rallies Islanders past rival Rangers
NEW YORK -- Andrew Ladd scored the tiebreaking goal with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the third period and the New York Islanders rallied for 3-2 victory over the crosstown-rival Rangers on Wednesday night.

Anders Lee had a goal and an assist, and Nikolay Kulemin also scored for the Islanders, who pulled two points behind Boston for the Eastern Conference's second wild-card spot. Anthony Beauvillier had two assists and Thomas Greiss stopped 34 shots.

Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash scored, and Antti Raanta finished with 25 saves for the Rangers, who remained six points behind Columbus for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Islanders, who beat the Rangers for the third time in four games this season and seven of eight over the last two, won for just the second time in six games (1-3-1). The Islanders also improved to 17-9-4 since interim coach Doug Weight replaced the fired Jack Capuano (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Celtics win, Cavs fall to tighten race for East's top seed

Best of NBA: Celtics win, Cavs fall to tighten race for East's top seed

BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points, Avery Bradley had 18 with eight rebounds and the Boston Celtics beat the Indiana Pacers 109-100 on Wednesday night for their fifth win in six games.

Al Horford added 15 points with eight boards and eight assists, and Jae Crowder also scored 15 points for Boston, which won for the 12th time in 13 home games.

Paul George led the Pacers with 37 points and Jeff Teague had 25. Indiana has alternated by winning and losing in its last 15 games.

The Celtics turned a red-hot shooting third quarter into 39 points, pushing a seven-point halftime lead to 14 after three quarters.

Boston hit 17 of 25 shots from the field, with Marcus Smart's last-second bank shot in the lane capping the shooting. He was fouled on the play and made the free throw, giving the Celtics an 88-74 lead entering the final quarter (see full recap).

Chandler sparks Nuggets' win over Cavs in return
DENVER -- Wilson Chandler scored 18 points in his return from a pulled groin and provided stellar defense on LeBron James in the Denver Nuggets' 126-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

The Nuggets bounced back from consecutive heartbreaking last-second losses to Houston with a signature win that increased their lead to 1 1/2 games over idle Portland in the race for the final playoff spot in the West.

Will Barton scored 20 points, Kenneth Faried added 17 and Jamal Murray had 15 off the bench for Denver, which also got 21 points from Gary Harris and 16 from Nikola Jokic.

Kyrie Irving lead the Cavs with 33 points but James had just 18 and the two stars sat out much of the fourth quarter with Cleveland trailing by double digits (see full recap).

Beal, Wall help Wizards rally past Hawks
WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal scored 28 points and John Wall added all 22 of his in the second half to help the Washington Wizards to a 104-100 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

Wall also had 10 assists on a night he shot just 6 of 21 from the floor, including two assists to Beal during a late 14-2 run that helped Washington ensure victory after Atlanta had led by as many as 12 early.

Ian Mahinmi had 10 rebounds off the bench as the Wizards used a 55-44 edge on the glass to overcome 40 percent shooting.

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 29 points and Dennis Schroder had 18 to lead the Hawks, who fell to their fifth consecutive defeat (see full recap).