McMullen: Lurie’s ‘Village’ Isn’t Complete Without Douglas Extension
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - With over 40,000 walking through the turnstiles at Lincoln Financial Field for the first open practice of the summer Sunday, it's almost like Jeffrey Lurie decided he wanted to give everyone just a little extra.
We all thought that was the return of veteran safety Corey Graham. Turns out that was small potatoes, however, as Lurie extended his popular head coach, Doug Pederson, and the architect of the organization's first Super Bowl-winning roster, Howie Roseman, through the 2022 season.
"It was just a thought that this is great leadership we have, and at some point in the near future, let's ratify that and extend it out into the foreseeable future," Lurie said before practice. "I wanted to observe what success looked like in terms of how people reacted to it. It was not surprising to me that everybody we had in the building was raring to go, including myself, fired up for another season really early on."
Fresh off Brian Dawkins' induction ceremony in Canton, Lurie was in a buoyant mood and returned to Philadelphia with the intent on keeping the good times rolling.
"This is an opportunity to really solidify the great leadership we have as an organization," he said. "Howie and Doug, two very, very impressive leaders who collaborate and are a big part of the success of this franchise. They really have instilled a culture of collaboration, teamwork. It's all about the group and the team. They work well with everybody. They're not afraid of hiring people who are very smart and terrific within their areas."
One of those smart people is Joe Douglas, the team's personnel chief who is on the last year of his deal and is looked at around the league as a future general manager.
The Eagles already blocked Douglas from interviewing with Houston for its GM job last season and the organization can really only offer him the title, not the traditional power the GM position holds, which belongs to Roseman.
"Joe is an important member of our player personnel staff," Lurie said. "I won't talk about anyone else's contract today, but Joe is a valued member of our staff and contributes as do many, many people that never get written about."
A team source told 973espn.com that Douglas is very happy in the organization but definitely has ambition and would like to be a GM somewhere in the league.
"It would have to be the right fit," the source said. "Winning is important."
The templatefor the Eagles has to be Eric DeCosta in Baltimore and George Paton in Minnesota, both long-time lieutenants who have eschewed many offers to move on over the years because they enjoy where they work.
DeCosta was rewarded earlier this year when it was announced that he will take over for his long-time boss Ozzie Newsome as the Ravens GM following the 2018 season while Paton was giving the title of VP of player personnel and assistant GM as he interns under Rick Spielman.
It's likely Douglas already understands he's valued but perhaps doesn't really want an extension at this stage which could affect his ability to listen is case the right fit does emerge.
What is known is Douglas loves working for this team. On Sunday after practice, he was thrilled for Roseman and Pederson and called the head coach "a great, great guy" while raving about the chemistry of this team.
So, for now, it remains status quo for at least for one more season with Lurie's theme remaining collaboration.
"There's just an ability to be wonderfully collaborative between [Pederson and Roseman], between their staffs. They're both aggressive, they're both risk takers," Lurie said. "It's part of our culture -- we never want to lose that. And they're also smart, they have an ability to relate well when it comes time to dealing with whether it's players, other coaches, other personnel. Just a terrific way of relating, and it's something special."
Special enough back-to-back Super Bowl wins?
"It takes a village to win a championship, and we want that village to be maintained in its leadership, continuity and its innovativeness," Lurie said. "And that's kind of where we're at today."
Almost but that finish line won't be crossed unless Douglas is also convinced to stay long-term.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen