Longtime Eagles Assistant Not Interviewed for Top Job: Report

Duce Staley

Getty Duce Staley has been the associate head and running backs coach in Philadelphia for a few years.

The NFL has a minority coaching problem. And the Eagles aren’t helping move the needle.

Duce Staley, the long-time associate head and running backs coach, reportedly wasn’t even interviewed for the team’s vacant offensive coordinator position, per Philly Voice’s Joseph Santoliquito. That now makes three times that Staley was passed over for either a head coaching or coordinator position in Philadelphia.

But this time had to sting the hardest for Staley. He was arguably the most qualified in-house candidate and, in a shocking twist, the Eagles decided to move ahead with a collaborative coaching staff instead of naming a true offensive coordinator. It will either turn out to be a trend-setting philosophy, or a failed experiment meant to placate Doug Pederson’s play-calling ego. Only time will tell.

“I respect the heck out of Duce,” Pederson said in 2018 when he promoted Mike Groh over Staley, via Philly Voice, “and what he’s done, what he’s brought, how he’s managed that running back room the last two years, some of the dynamic personalities in that room. He does an outstanding job with the run game, with coach (Jeff) Stoutland.”

Staley Well-Respected in Eagles’ Locker Room

Whether or not Duce Staley ever gets a legitimate shot at a head coaching or offensive coordinator gig remains to be seen but his influence in the running backs room is unparalleled. Rookie Miles Sanders waxed poetic about the way Staley helped mold him both on and off the field. The 22-year-old referred to the coach as a “father figure.”

“I never had anybody to really push me. I always had my mom. Moms can’t really do both when it comes to stuff like that,” Sanders told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “To have someone like Duce pushing me and believing in me and knowing what I can do, that’s meant a lot. Especially because he went through the same stuff I went through.”

Staley, of course, spent seven seasons in Philadelphia and ranks fifth all-time on their career rushing leaders list with 4,807 yards and 22 touchdowns, only 1,053 yards away from Hall-of-Famer Steve Van Buren. He has 5,785 total career rushing yards after playing three additional years in Pittsburgh.

Eagles running back Corey Clement shared the same sentiment as Sanders did about how Staley motivates the guys and leads by example. He’s the type of coach “you would run through a wall for.”

“He misses nothing. He’s as old-school as it gets. And if you make a mistake, Duce will let you know it,” Clement said in 2017, via Philly Voice. “If you make a great play, Duce will let you know that, too. He’s hard on the running backs, but we love it. He talks to us like men, not like little kids.”

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