Eagles

Despite interest from Eagles, Mike Kafka reportedly returning to Kansas City

Despite interest from Eagles, Mike Kafka reportedly returning to Kansas City

Another day, another name to cross off the Eagles’ list of potential offensive coordinator candidates. 

Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka is going to be back in Kansas City next season, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. 

It is interesting that the Eagles didn’t even bother to put in an official request to interview Kafka but it does explain why we haven’t heard anything about a potential interview in the last couple days after the Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl. 

It’s not surprising that Andy Reid and the Chiefs would have blocked a request to talk to Kafka. The 32-year-old is an OC-in-waiting for whenever current OC Eric Bieniemy finally gets hired by an NFL team as a head coach. Reid wasn’t going to let Kafka go. 

From the Eagles’ perspective, it would have made plenty of sense to be interested in Kafka. He played under Doug Pederson in Philly when Doug was an assistant and they both come from the same coaching tree and have a similar understanding of offense. 

And Kafka has been a quick-riser in the coaching world. His background as a quarterback was likely attractive for the Eagles, who should try to maximize Carson Wentz’s potential as he enters what should be the prime in his career. 

To recap some top candidates: 

Mike Kafka: Reported interest, but staying in Kansas City as QBs coach with a possible added title 

James Urban: Interviewed with Eagles but staying in Baltimore as QBs coach, working with Lamar Jackson 

Graham Harrell: Reportedly interviewed with Eagles but staying at USC as their offensive coordinator 

Kevin O’Connell: Reported interest from the Eagles but joined the Rams as their offensive coordinator in a position similar to the Eagles’ OC, in that the OC doesn’t call plays 

Jim Caldwell: The Eagles had some reported interest in the 65-year-old former head coach, who is no longer with the Miami Dolphins

Aside from those names, the Eagles also have a couple internal candidates in Press Taylor and Duce Staley. And there are other names of intrigue, including Jay Gruden, Ben McAdoo and others. 

But it’s now Day 13 of the Eagles’ coaching search and their brass is in Mobile, Alabama, for the Senior Bowl without and offensive coordinator. This is taking a little longer than many of us expected. 

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Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey dies after battle with coronavirus

Former Eagles kicker Tom Dempsey died on Saturday of complications from the coronavirus. Dempsey was 73.

Dempsey contracted the coronavirus in March at the Lambeth House, a retirement home in New Orleans, and is one of at least 15 residents to die from the virus, according to The Times-Picayune.

Dempsey was an Eagle from 1971-1974, but also played for the Saints, Rams, Oilers and Bills.

Born without fingers on his right hand and toes on his right foot, Dempsey was known for his small flat kicking shoe. That shoe now resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations,” Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement. “He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family."

The year before he joined the Eagles, Dempsey gained fame by kicking a 63-yard field goal to give the Saints a last-second 19-17 win over the Lions at Tulane Stadium in 1970. It broke the previous NFL record for longest field goal by 7 yards.

That was the NFL record for 43 years until Matt Prater hit a 64-yarder in 2013. Others had tied the record but it took over four decades to beat it.

In his four seasons with the Eagles, for whom he played the longest, Dempsey kicked in 47 games and made 66 of 108 field goals (61.1%). He also made 84 of 90 point-after attempts. Dempsey is 18th on the Eagles’ list of all-time scorers with 282 points.

Dempsey retired to New Orleans where he began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in 1969. He had been battling dementia since 2012. 

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Darius Slay explains why he’s wearing 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

Darius Slay explains why he’s wearing 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

You can still hear the giddiness in Darius Slay’s voice when he talks about Dec. 6, 2015. 

That was a special day for the Eagles’ new cornerback. 

That was the day he met the Kobe Bryant. 

The meeting between the late NBA superstar and the then-third-year NFL pro came after a Lakers-Pistons game at The Palace of Auburn Hills during the 2015 season. It’s a day and a moment Slay will never forget, getting the chance to meet his favorite basketball player and a personal idol. 

And now with the Eagles, Slay will honor Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, by wearing the No. 24 for the football team Bryant loved. 

“I was surprised that he even knew me,” Slay said. “I don’t know if the people told him, ‘You got Darius Slay out there waiting on you from the Detroit Lions’ or gave him a pre-talk about me or something. I don’t know. 

“But the fact that he came around the corner and (there) was like 20 to 30 reporters waiting on him, he kind of walked past all the reporters, everybody and came directly to me, like, ‘What’s up Slay? I love your game, man.’ He was talking about my style of play and we just chopped it up for a minute.”

Slay said he was so in shock that day he barely had any words to speak but he was able to hold a short conversation. Then Slay got Kobe’s autograph and they took a few photos together, including this one: 

Slay previously wore No. 23 in Detroit but that number is occupied by Rodney McLeod with the Eagles. And Jordan Howard, who wore 24 last year, left for Miami as a free agent. So things lined up perfectly for Slay to take the second of Kobe’s two retired numbers. 

When Bryant died in January, it became even more apparent how much he meant to his fellow athletes. When Bryant visited the Eagles in LA during the 2017 season, there was a similar giddiness with them. There’s a really good chance that Bryant was your favorite athlete’s favorite athlete. 

“I just love how much he competed,” Slay said. “He was a true competitor. He worked on his craft. I believe the work you put in is [what] you get out of it.” 

Slay said he also really admired that Bryant was always willing to seek out answers from others, most notably Michael Jordan. Even though Bryant was constantly being compared to Jordan, he was never hesitant to pick Jordan’s brain. 

Similarly, Slay said he loves talking to other cornerbacks and asking advice. He doesn’t care who that cornerback is; if he has a question about their technique or facing a particular receiver, he’s going to ask. 

“It’s just the part about doing anything and be willing to do anything to be good and be great,” Slay said. “That’s why I took out a lot of stuff that he did and that’s what I’ll continue to keep doing.”

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