Source: Eagles interviewed Brian Billick


Brian Billick, who led the Ravens to the 2000 Super Bowl championship but last coached in 2007, is the latest candidate to emerge for the Eagles head coaching vacancy.

A league source said Sunday afternoon that the Eagles interviewed Billick last week and now consider him among the leading candidates to replace his good friend, Andy Reid, fired two weeks ago after 14 seasons as head coach of the Eagles.

Billick is the eighth known candidate the Eagles have interviewed for their head coaching job and the 13th overall known candidate.

Billick, 58, had an 80-64 record in nine seasons with the Ravens, and in 2000, his second year, they went 12-4 and swept through the playoffs, allowing just 23 points in four games and beating the Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

The Eagles search committee of owner Jeff Lurie, president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman met with Billick last Monday near his Maryland home, the source said.

The Ravens also went to the playoffs in 2001, 2003 and 2006 under Billick but won just one postseason game under Billick after the Super Bowl season, a wild-card win over the Dolphins in 2001. He was replaced by former Eagles assistant John Harbaugh after the Ravens went 5-11 in 2007.

Billick is the third former NFL head coach the Eagles have interviewed. They met with former Bears coach Lovie Smith last week and former 49ers coach Mike Nolan soon after Reid was fired.

The Eagles have also interviewed Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong, Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, college coaches Brian Kelly of Notre Dame, Chip Kelly of Oregon and Bill OBrien of Penn State and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Kelly, Kelly and O'Brien all returned to their college position after meeting with the Eagles.
The Eagles are scheduled to meet this week with Colts offensive coordinator and interim head coach Bruce Arians, a former Temple head coach, and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. They were also known to be interested in both Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, who was hired by the Bills, and Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who decided to remain with the Falcons, but they never had a chance to interview either one.
NFL teams are no longer allowed to interview coaches whose teams are still alive in the playoffs until their season is over.

One big selling point for Billick is his ability to build a staff. Among the assistants he brought into Baltimore were future NFL head coaches Mike Smith, Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Jack Del Rio and Mike Nolan, plus Stanford coach David Shaw, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine Jr., the former coach at North Penn High, just outside Lansdale.

Billick played at BYU and was a graduate assistant coach in 1978, when Reid was a freshman on the BYU football team.

Before joining the Ravens, he spent the 1992 through 1998 seasons on Dennis Greens staff in Minnesota, as tight ends coach for two years and offensive coordinator for five. His 1998 offense, led by Randall Cunningham, scored 556 points, fourth-most in NFL history.
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