Eagles Coaching Search Takes Sharp Left Turn With Coughlin
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — As the Miami Dolphins were locking up Adam Gase, the Eagles were getting permission to interview long-time antagonist Tom Coughlin for their head-coaching position.
Talking with the 69-year-old potential, future Hall of Fame coach is a sharp step away from normalcy for this organization and certainly at least points to some indecision among the Eagles search committee of Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Don Smolenski.
An NFL source confirmed to 973espn.com that one of the three was sold on Gase but a collective dragging of the feet allowed the 37-yard-old Chicago Bears offensive coordinator, who was the hottest name in this year's coaching carousel, to look elsewhere.
(Listen to Jordan Raanan from NJ.com discuss Tom Coughlin)
After interviews with the Eagles on Tuesday, Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, the Dolphins on Thursday and the New York Giants on Friday, Gase doubled back to South Florida and the sides were dotting the Is and crossing the Ts by Saturday morning.
Philadelphia wanted to talk with Gase a second time after completing its first round of interviews but that option is now off the table and the team must move on.
Coughlin, who will be turning 70 in August, is expected to be interviewed on Monday before Lurie and the other NFL owners convene for their meeting in Houston, according to ESPN.com.
Coughlin resigned from the Giants on Monday of this week after his third straight losing season and the fourth consecutive in which Big Blue missed the postseason. He then confirmed Tuesday that he would consider coaching again if the right spot emerged.
For him, that's Philadelphia, which is an opportunity to stay close to the roots and stick it to the team that decided his shelf life was up despite winning two Super Bowls with the Giants.
Before arriving in North Jersey, the highly-accomplished Coughlin was the first ever coach in Jacksonville, where he led an expansion Jaguars to two AFC Championship Games over a seven-year span.
Also up soon for the Eagles are two coaches still in the playoff hunt, Kansas City offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
Pederson, the ex-Eagles quarterback and Andy Reid protege who mentored Donovan McNabb, is set to meet with the Eagles on Sunday, a day after the Chiefs meet the Houston Texans on Wild Card Weekend. Guenther and the Bengals are also in action Saturday against Pittsburgh. He would also be available to chat as early as Sunday.
The strange, almost haphazard nature of the current search could also indicate that the Eagles are seriously considering elevating interim coach Pat Shurmur.
The narrative there being the appearance of due diligence would make the spin of keeper Shurmur and playing the continuity card more palatable for the team's fan base.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen