Matt Burke has been getting more ink than the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention. The 43-year-old has been widely mentioned for numerous assistant jobs.
The latest one would keep him in the same zip code. Burke, who serves as a defensive special assistant for the Eagles, is rumored to be in the hunt for the team’s defensive line coach after Phillip Daniels was fired after one season at the helm.
Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Burke is in line for a big promotion. Daniels was relieved of his Eagles coaching duties on Friday despite ranking 13th in the NFL in total sacks with 43. Of those 43, only 33 sacks were recorded by players along the defensive line.
Enter Burke. He has been mentioned in conversations to join Kevin Stefanski’s staff in Cleveland and Matt Rhule’s staff in Carolina. The Eagles seem intent on not letting him getaway. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has made no secret about his respect for Burke.
Schwartz brought him in as a “special assistant” last February following his departure from Miami where he spent two seasons there as defensive coordinator. The two have worked together twice before in stints in Tennessee and Detroit.
“Matt has been a great addition to Jim [Schwartz] on the defensive side, being another set of eyes on defense, being that he’s been a coordinator,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson told reporters earlier this year. “He’s a young coordinator, obviously, but he doesn’t have a position to coach, so he can really dive into our defense and find ways of improving that as he sees fit, and he and Jim have obviously worked together.”
Burke Went to Dartmouth, Climbed Mount Kilimanjaro
Matt Burke is a defensive coach first but he’s the most interesting man in the world on the side. The Massachusetts native is both cultured and educated.
Burke, who grew up less than an hour from Boston, attended Dartmouth University and played football in the Ivy League as a walk-on safety. From there, he went on to coach at Boston College and Harvard University before getting his big break in 2004.
The Titans hired Burke and he learned how to coach defenses under then-defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as defensive quality control coach. He followed him to Detroit and took on the role of linebackers coach, something he reprised for both the Bengals and Dolphins.
Coaching chops aside, Burke has been known for his outrageous sense of adventure. His sometimes dangerous bucket-list expeditions — hanging out with gorillas on the Rwanda-Uganda border, roaming through Antarctica, climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro and skydiving in New Zealand — have become the stuff of legend. Burke uses all those experiences to relate to his players.
“Part of my job is to relate to those guys and I think that it’s the same when I travel,” Burke told the Palm Beach Post in 2017. “I get to meet a vast array of cultures and people. … Every now and then I’ll try to manipulate it into a motivational talk or something, or some sort of metaphor for climbing mountains.”
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