‘Like a Son to Me’: Eagles Owner Gushes Over Former Top Assistant

Duce Staley

Getty Eagles QB Carson Wentz talks with head coach Doug Pederson and assistant Duce Staley.

It’s not hard to see why so many people love Duce Staley. He’s a straight-shooter and independent thinker, always prone to crack a smile or pat a guy on the back during practice. So it wasn’t crazy to hear Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie sing Staley’s praises.

He was the candidate that many Eagles players openly lobbied for during the head-coaching search. Staley was also a finalist for the job, per SportsRadio 94WIP’s Howard Eskin, but in the end, Lurie chose to go outside the organization for the new hire. He chose to pass on Staley and his almost two decades’ worth of experience with the Eagles — 11 years as a coach, seven as a player — and take a chance on Nick Sirianni.

On Friday, Lurie took a moment to discuss the 45-year-old former assistant coach who left to take a similar role in Detroit. He will remain in Staley’s corner, rooting for him to become a head coach someday. Here is the full transcript of what a sincere-sounding owner said on a Zoom call:

In particular, just because he’s kind of like a son to me, I just want to talk about Duce [Staley]. Duce is somebody very special to me. He’s been a terrific player, coach, leader for us. He’ll always be a Philadelphia Eagle. He and I talked well into the night the other night.

I love the man. I just believe, I think he believes, that it’s best for his goal of being a head coach in the league to work for another organization for a while and set himself up the way many of the candidates have.

It will help him. I just want the best for him. I think he’ll be an excellent leader for wherever he is in the future. I just want to share that love for Duce, because he’s very special.

Staley left a “love letter” to the City of Philadelphia and the rabid Philly fan base. He called the town the “best sports city of all time” in his parting remarks.

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Lurie Reveals How Coaching Search Went Down

Lurie took a second to explain how the coaching search went down and the process behind it. It was a bit of a revealing moment since there is a certain veil of secrecy around the Eagles’ front office and what goes into making decisions these days.

But the billionaire owner told reporters the Eagles started with roughly 25 names, then narrowed it down to 10 and started the interview portion. He was “blown away” by every single candidate.

“The NFL is lacking in slots, not in candidates. I’m really glad to be able to say that,” Lurie said. “I’m not saying that diplomatically. Trust me, any friend who has asked me, it’s like these were really, really impressive people and candidates. Some of them quite young. They’ll be the hot candidates in a year, two or three, no question about it. That’s what we learned in the process.”


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