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Eagles' search for new coach could take awhile

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Eagles' search for new coach could take awhile

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Jeffrey Lurie's search for the Philadelphia Eagles' next coach began before he fired Andy Reid and could last until the Super Bowl.

While the Eagles were struggling toward a 4-12 finish, Lurie ``meticulously and in great detail'' researched potential successors to replace a coach that won more games than any other in franchise history.

Reid, however, didn't win a Super Bowl and the team still is seeking its first NFL title since 1960. Lurie considers the Vince Lombardi Trophy his ``obsession.''

So, the pressure's on to find a coach who can deliver that elusive championship.

``The important thing is to find the right coach, not to make the fastest decision,'' Lurie said. ``That's our priority.''

The Eagles already have lined up interviews with three assistant coaches on the Atlanta Falcons: Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and special teams coach Keith Armstrong. The Falcons (13-3) are the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and have a bye this week.

Other NFL assistants that are likely on Lurie's ``very defined list'' include Denver's Mike McCoy, San Francisco's Greg Roman and Vic Fangio, Cincinnati's Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer, Seattle's Gus Bradley, Green Bay's Ben McAdoo, and Arizona's Ray Horton. Bruce Arians, who was 9-3 as interim coach with Indianapolis, is another candidate.

Oregon's Chip Kelly may be the most sought-after coach from the college ranks, and he's said to be atop Philadelphia's list. Penn State's Bill O'Brien would be more attractive if it weren't for the $9 million buyout in his contract.

``I think the most important thing is to find the right leader,'' Lurie said. ``I'm not one who wants to buy schemes, wants to buy approaches that are necessarily finite. What you've got to find is somebody who is strategic, somebody who is a strong leader, somebody who is very comfortable in his own skin. That, to me, is probably one of the one or two top traits because players today see right through if you're not. If you're a salesman coach, that's not going to work.''

Fans hoping the Eagles make a big splash and hire a high-profile coach like Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden are probably going to be disappointed. Lurie downplayed ``famous'' names and pointed to Reid as an example of an unknown coach who had tremendous success after getting his first chance.

When Lurie hired Reid in 1999, he was never a coordinator. Reid coached quarterbacks and offensive linemen in Green Bay under Mike Holmgren.

``Somebody who is completely comfortable in his role and in who they are as a person, that's the most important thing,'' Lurie said. ``But there's a lot of other characteristics that go into it. How well does the person hire? Is he going to surround himself with strong coordinators and good assistant coaches? In this league, that's one of the most underrated aspects. If you don't hire the best around you, they may not be name coaches but you've got to hire great teachers and strong coordinators, I think you're operating at a disadvantage and I'm looking for that.''

Reid assembled a strong coaching staff in Philadelphia, especially in the first half of his tenure. Six of his assistants became head coaches: Brad Childress (Minnesota), John Harbaugh (Baltimore), Leslie Frazier (Minnesota), Ron Rivera (Carolina), Pat Shurmur (Cleveland) and Steve Spagnuolo (St. Louis).

Harbaugh has reached the playoffs in each of his five seasons with the Ravens. Frazier has the Vikings in the playoffs in his second full year. Childress took Minnesota to the NFC championship in 2009.

``I'm looking for someone that's innovative, somebody that is not afraid to take risks, somebody that looks and studies the league and studies the college world,'' Lurie continued ``and decides what the best inefficiencies are on offense and defense and special teams and can execute it with their coaches so that you take advantage of trends and take advantage of, again, inefficiencies in terms of where the game is at and understand where it's going. So, a student of the game who is obsessed and who absolutely and, on his own, is completely driven to be the best, that's what you're looking for.''

This is the third time Lurie will hire a coach since he bought the Eagles from Norman Braman in 1995. His first hire was Ray Rhodes. He took the Eagles to the playoffs his first two seasons and lasted four years.

Reid led the Eagles to nine playoffs appearances, six division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl loss.

``Once you've experienced the success we've had, it makes you just realize that there's nothing more that you want than a Super Bowl, and to deliver that to our fans,'' Lurie said. ``I'm very confident that we can attract a very good head coach, and he's going to attract a very good staff. We have the people in place to work with them to be very, very impressive in terms of the future.''

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Robert Griffin III: 'I completely understand' Andrew Luck's decision

Robert Griffin III: 'I completely understand' Andrew Luck's decision

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Late Saturday evening, as Ravens players and coaches ended their nights, news of Andrew Luck’s retirement reverberated throughout the league. 

At their homes, offensive coordinator Greg Roman and quarterback Robert Griffin III — both of whom knew Luck personally — called his retirement shocking.

“I had the opportunity to work with Andrew Luck at Stanford University and it was a great experience working with him,” Roman said. “Obviously, he’s a very talented football player, but he’s a very talented human being as well. I was slightly shocked.”

Roman, the tight ends and offensive tackles coach at Stanford in 2009 and 2010, had worked with Luck early in his Cardinal career. 

In 2010, Luck finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Cam Newton in an offense that was designed by Roman.

“I sent him a text, and I’m sure I’ll talk to him here in the near future,” Roman said. “Andrew, I can’t speak enough for his character and the kind of person he is. He’s a special person and I wish he and his family nothing but the best.”

In the 2011 season, after Roman had left to be the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator, Luck placed second in the Heisman voting once again. This time, he finished behind Griffin.

Luck, 29, and Griffin had been linked for the majority of their careers, starting in the Heisman race in 2011. But Griffin said the two had been linked much earlier than that.

“I’ve always been competing against Andrew silently,” Griffin said. “We both grew up in Texas, we were almost teammates at Stanford. We got to meet through the awards season in college football. At the Heisman, not everybody knows this, but they give you an option to go out and see the city or you can bring all the guys with you. Made the decision to bring everybody with us and it drew us all closer. I’ve always been rooting for him since.”

The two became the first and second overall picks — to the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins — in April of 2012. Since then, the two’s careers had significant hardships. 

Griffin won Rookie of The Year, but suffered a devastating knee injury in the playoffs and never returned to his rookie year status in Washington.

He returned and started games in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, but never regained his firm grip on the position, partially due to a dislocated ankle in the second game of the 2014 season.

He left the Redskins after the 2015 season and then spent a year in Cleveland before he was out of the game altogether in 2017. It’s on that level where Griffin can relate, in some ways, to what Luck is going through.

“When I was out of football in 2017, I can’t say I was to the point where I was making the decision to retire,” Griffin began. “But, I was at the point where you’re tired of being injured, tired of being hurt and tired of going through that process. I think he called it pain, injury, rehab, and just repeating that process over and over and over. I can completely understand where he’s coming from.”

Luck had injury problems of his own in his career, of which the injuries were not insignificant. 

Added up, Luck decided it was best for him to retire. The news broke, however, during a Colts preseason game. That left time for Indianapolis fans to find out the news, and let their displeasure heard in the form of booing as Luck left the field.

“We’re looked at as superheroes and not human beings,” Griffin said. “For him to have that human element, to express it in the press conference after the game, go and talk to the media and answer questions, I thought that was really big.”

With Luck out of the game, the top two picks linked in everyone’s minds from an increasingly-infamous 2012 draft is now down to one.

Everyone in the NFL, however, in former teammates or competitors know just how special of a career that Luck had.

“For a guy to go out and do what he’s done in his six or seven years, it’s been amazing,” Ravens special teams coach Chris Horton said. “That guy, whatever he is going to do, has made the right decision for himself and that’s really what it comes down to. This game of football, we all love it. I saw his press conference, and he just talked about how much he loved football. It’s true, but we all also understand that at some point we’ve got to think about life after football a little bit.”

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'Hardest decision of my life': Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

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'Hardest decision of my life': Colts QB Andrew Luck retires

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Andrew Luck watched one last game from the sideline Saturday.

Then he said goodbye to the NFL.

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback heard boos as he walked away from the field, then walked to the podium and made the surprise decision official. The oft-injured star is retiring at age 29.

"I am going to retire," he said. "This is not an easy decision. It's the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me."

Luck said the repeated injuries, the lingering pain and continual rehab took away his love for the game.

Word first leaked about Luck's plans during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 27-17 loss to the Chicago Bears when ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported Luck felt mentally worn down and had met with team owner Jim Irsay to inform him of his decision.

Luck has most recently struggled to recover from a lower left leg injury.

Luck's former coach Chuck Pagano made his first return to Lucas Oil Stadium since he was fired as the Colts' head coach following the 2017 season. Luck did not play that season because he was recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder.

He returned last season and led the Colts back to the playoffs for the first time in four years, winning the league's Comeback Player of the Year award.

But in March, he suffered a strained left calf, was held out of all of the team's offseason workouts and returned on a limited basis for three practices at training camp in July. Lingering pain forced him back to the sideline and the Colts later determined that he had an injury near the back of his left ankle.

Coach Frank Reich had said he hoped to have an answer about Luck's availability for the Sept. 8 season opener after the third preseason game. This might not have been the one he wanted -- and certainly didn't expect.

Jacoby Brissett now inherits the starting job.