It feels impossible, but just seven months ago Doug Pederson was still head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Then the first month of the offseason hit, and the entire organization was turned on its head.
The Super Bowl-winning head coach resurfaced this week in a radio appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic to talk with Anthony Gargano about what he's been up to since he parted ways with the Eagles in January, and his approach to recharging his batteries after decades of life in football.
But Pederson was also asked about one of June's hot topics in Philly sports circles: are the city's fans too hard on our players? The Ben Simmons fiasco had folks on both sides of the aisle arguing over passion versus persecution, and Gargano wanted to get Pederson's perspective on the matter:
"GARGANO: Are we too hard? We were having this conversation today because of Simmons. You know how much we love this stuff.
"PEDERSON: There's a saying out there - we use it a lot - you can't see the forest through the trees, because you're too close to it. I think sometimes fans get too close to it. And listen, there's a passion in Philadelphia, which I love. It draws people to the Linc, and to Philly sports. Watching the Sixers in the NBA postseason, I'm sitting there watching those home games and that passion shows up. But sometimes we get a little bit too close, and it's hard to see big picture sometimes. It's just - it is what it is, but it's okay. We move on, we've lived another day, the sun came up the next day and we're alright."
I think that's a fair answer from Pederson. It would be disingenuous for him to flatly say that Philly fans aren't a bit too much sometimes, because he's both played and coached in this city and he knows that's not true. But it's also weird when critics simply say Philly fans care "too much" while failing to acknowledge that every sports fanbase has segments that sometimes go a little too hard on their players.
Could Philly fans stand to ease up a little bit now and then? Maybe, but you also don't want to lose the edge that makes this city what it is. Pederson gets that.
The current free agent coach also told Gargano that he would like another shot at leading a team as its head coach:
"I feel like, if I get another opportunity, I want to do it again. I went to two Super Bowls as a player in Green Bay, and obviously now being the coach in Philadelphia, so three Super Bowls, and when it gets in your system like that it's hard to turn that off. The competitor inside wants to continue to compete. Hopefully I get another opportunity to lead another football team."
Considering his reputation with his players during his time in Philadelphia and his Super Bowl resume, I'd be surprised if Pederson doesn't find his way back into some kind of coaching position in time for the 2022 offseason.
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