So what happened with Gus?
It looked like it was going to be Gus Bradley. Then everything changed rapidly.
On Tuesday, the Eagles met for a second time with the former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator. Bradley has since taken a job with the Jacksonville Jaguars (see story), but just days ago he looked like a solid bet to end up in Philadelphia.
After flying to town, Bradley spent more than six hours at Jeffrey Luries Main Line mansion. Around 10 p.m. that evening, the meeting concluded. The next morning Bradley was on his way to Jacksonville to take the Jaguars job while the Eagles were busy stunning everyone with an announcement that they had hired former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly.
So what happened with Bradley?
What I told Gus was, it was down to two candidates himself and somebody who had head coaching experience and I needed to sleep on it, Lurie said. Thats where it was at on Tuesday. I had a lot of thinking to do myself.
Late Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning, Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman believed that Kelly had become their guy. Even though they were confident Kelly would be the teams new head coach, Lurie said he didnt know for sure until Kelly informed the Ducks that he was leaving the program at 8:15 in the morning, pacific time on Wednesday.
Until Kelly told his players, I dont think we could have ever known for sure, Lurie said. He had let on Wednesday morning, probably two hours before that, that he was wanting to be our coach. I think I was waiting for him to tell his players. He felt that he wanted to be the one to tell his players and not hear about it in the media or anything else. He didnt like the way some other situations had occurred in football, in college. Thats what happened.
Lurie added that Kelly and the Eagles discussed an offer Tuesday into the night. We knew the contract wasnt going to be an issue. With Chip it was never going to be an issue. This was not about a contract. It was whether he wanted to leave Oregon.
Kelly agreed to a five-year deal on Wednesday morning. Thereafter, Lurie informed Bradley.
After we decided on Chip, when it was finalized, I had a very long conversation with Gus, Lurie said. We talked a lot about the Jaguars' job and, if offered, should he take it? I encouraged him because I think the new owner is really committed and a really good guy.
I thought Gus was really great, I think he was just a terrific candidate. I went to sleep Tuesday night and thought, 'On Wednesday, were probably going to pull the trigger and were going to end up with an outstanding coach.' It was like, Wow, this has been great. It was a nice position to be in.
Despite reports that questioned whether the Eagles' head coaching position was desirable, Lurie insisted that the team never had any competition for Kelly or Bradley or anyone else (see story). On the contrary, the owner said after the initial meeting with Kelly the Eagles pressed forward believing that there were several quality candidates available and that they could essentially have their pick.
This was a loaded deck, Lurie said. We could have went in about five different directions and been very happy. There was no point in it when I said oh, boy, we couldnt get this guy because hes going back to college. I was like, were dealing in a loaded deck here. We seem to be the franchise that every candidate would prefer to come to and lets just be patient.
As for Bradley, the Eagles maintain they didnt mislead him. Was Bradley ever under the impression that he had the job or it was his to lose?
No, definitely not, Roseman said. It was very important to us. Gus is a very straightforward individual. He is so genuine that the last thing you wanted to do was misrepresent to Gus. When Jeffrey left Gus, he was very open about where he was in the process and what he was looking at. He was the first person that we called Wednesday. He was in an interview yesterday with Jacksonville, and when we named Chip the coach, I called the general manager of the Jaguars, whos a friend of mine, and I told him what we thought about Gus Bradley and I reached out to Gus again Thursday. I think we as an organization are going to be friends with Gus Bradley for a long time.
E-mail John Gonzalez at email@example.com