Eagles

Lurie pushes back on meddling claims; will son eventually take over?

Eagles

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Despite plenty of reports to the contrary, Jeffrey Lurie on Tuesday pushed back against the notion that he’s become a more hands-on owner in recent years.

Not only did Lurie disagree that he’s become more involved in football matters, but in his first press conference in over a year, took it the other way.

“If I really had to say, I’d say slightly less involved,” Lurie said at the NFL owners meetings at The Breakers in South Florida. “I really believe in who we have in the building and I’m very trusting of different departments that we have. I think our areas of expertise in terms of injury prevention and the steps we’ve taken to do that, which is a huge correlative with winning; whether it’s statistics and analytics, whether it’s psychological analysis, scouting, you name it, we’ve got great people in place.

“I would say if anything the last few years, I’ve taken a little more of a backseat.”

Lurie, 70, said he sometimes asks himself if he’s ever “over-rooted” for an outcome and he narrowed it down to three instances:

1. Trusting Jeff Stoutland’s evaluation of Lane Johnson in 2013 and truly believing Johnson would be better than the other tackles in that draft class.

2. Missing out on drafting Russell Wilson in the second round in 2012; Wilson went to the Seahawks in the third.

3. Again backing Stoutland in his quest to bring aboard Jordan Mailata late in the 2018 draft.

 

It certainly wasn’t lost on anyone that the three examples Lurie gave painted himself in an overwhelmingly positive light. He rooted for one of the best tackles in the NFL in 2013, he rooted for a Hall of Fame quarterback in 2012 and he rooted for a long-shot seventh-rounder in 2018 who clearly has Pro Bowl potential. Three-for-three!

Lurie did not list any examples of an “over-rooting” experience when he was wrong in his evaluation. And he even denied that he was behind the Eagles’ pick of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round in 2019. Lurie said the pick came down to JJAW or Parris Campbell and said they likely went with Arcega-Whiteside because of Campbell’s history with soft tissue injuries.

While Lurie claimed he’s taken a more hands-off approach in recent seasons, when pushed about other reported decisions he’s made, he did not deny his involvement in his head coach’s staffs. Think back to when Doug Pederson wanted to run it back with Mike Groh and Carson Walch or when Pederson’s staff suggestions after the 2020 season helped lead to his dismissal.

“I have to evaluate a head coach on his management of coaches and who he wants to entrust on his coaching staff,” Lurie said. “That’s what an owner does and that’s what a CEO does.”

In that case, Julian Lurie better be taking notes.

The younger Lurie has been a topic of conversation since he was spotted on the sideline of a Senior Bowl practice earlier this offseason, along with general manager Howie Roseman, head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive line coach Stoutland.

“My son Julian, he grew up in the family, obviously, that owns the team,” Jeff Lurie said on Tuesday. “He’s an avid Philadelphia sports fan. He loves the Eagles, loves the NFL. Really has a great feel for many aspects of the sport.”

Julian Lurie, who was born the year after Jeff Lurie bought the Eagles in 1994, doesn’t have a formal role with the Eagles, but is clearly being groomed to one day take over the family business … even if Lurie wouldn’t say definitively if Julian intends to succeed him.

“I don't know that exactly,” Jeff Lurie said. “We haven't fully talked about that. I can say that he has my passion for the sport and the Eagles. I can tell you that.”

Julian Lurie is a Harvard graduate and several years ago completed the NFL’s two-year rotational program designed to teach participants about the league in a variety of departments.

While Julian does not yet hold a formal position with the Eagles, his father on Tuesday said his goal is to expose him to every aspect of running an NFL team.

“Like a lot of children of families that own teams, kind of bring them along,” Jeff Lurie said. “I want to expose him to all aspects of both the business side and the operational side. The nuts and bolts and also the strategy side. He’s a real sharp guy and he’s going to have so much more going into it than I ever did if he chooses to want to someday own and run the team. He’s going to have a gigantic advantage. Maybe he won’t make some of the early mistakes I made.”

 

In all likelihood, Julian Lurie will one day be holding press conferences of his own, fighting back against perception or reality of his own hands-on approach.