So … a guy walks into his college alma mater and inquires about the same position he has in the NFL. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? Not at all.
An oddly-timed report surfaced on Friday from The Athletic‘s Josh Kendall saying that Duce Staley asked South Carolina about the school’s vacant running backs coach position. He didn’t actually interview for the job because he was apparently “rebuffed,” per sources.
Rebuffed — the word means “to reject in an abrupt or ungracious manner” — by whom? The University of South Carolina? Or the Philadelphia Eagles?
That part isn’t spelled out in the report. However, the mere fact that Staley would be willing to make a lateral move from the professional ranks to college seems majorly suspect. (Note: Staley did play his college ball at South Carolina and his son, Damani, is a linebacker at the school).
Staley, who may have been passed over for the Eagles’ offensive coordinator position, seems to have a great working relationship with Doug Pederson in Philadelphia. Sure, he doesn’t own the title of offensive coordinator but the long-time running backs coach has the moniker of “associate head coach.”
No small feat, something that could seemingly fast-track him for a head-coaching gig in the NFL at some point. Staley has never complained about his role with the Eagles. It seems out of character for any of these things to be true.
Sources: Staley Not Interested in Leaving Philadelphia
According to NBC Sports Philadelphia‘s Reuben Frank, there was no truth to The Athletic‘s report pertaining to Duce Staley. He is content and happy to remain on Doug Pederson’s staff.
Again, the whole debate about whether Staley is unhappy with his role with the Eagles is a curious one. He was granted a courtesy interview, as Frank points out, for the Eagles’ head coaching vacancy in 2016 after Chip Kelly was fired. Pederson placated his top assistant by naming him associate head coach in 2018, then reportedly bypassed him for subsequent promotions. It’s getting weirder and weirder by the day.
But the source said Staley did not inquire about the job and would never consider leaving the Eagles for a college position coach role.
Staley has been bypassed several times for promotions in his nine years as an Eagles assistant coach. But it’s hard to imagine any NFL position coach willingly leaving for a college position coach job, no matter how unhappy or frustrated he may be.
In a way, you can’t blame Staley if he is growing frustrated. The former Eagles great was given a courtesy interview for the head coaching vacancy in 2016 after Chip Kelly was fired, but that was largely seen as a move merely to satisfy the NFL’s Rooney Rule requirements.
Eagles Do Damage Control on Social Media
Perhaps feeling the awkwardness of the situation, the Eagles’ official Twitter account posted a special “Throwback Thursday” highlight. In it, then-quarterback Doug Pederson throws a screen pass to Duce Staley and the former running back takes it down the field for a first down. Pederson and Staley were teammates in Philadelphia during the 1999 season.
Staley enjoyed a breakout year in 1999 despite the Eagles’ dismal 5-11 record. He rushed 325 times for 1,273 yards and four touchdowns while hauling in 41 balls for 294 yards. Meanwhile, Pederson completed 119-of-227 passes for 1,276 yards and seven touchdowns against nine interceptions. Donovan McNabb took over the starting quarterback duties in 2000 and the Eagles reeled off five straight playoff appearances. The rest is history.
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