Doug Pederson talks about end of Eagles tenure for 1st time


Doug Pederson says he would have loved an opportunity to get the Eagles back on track but feels a sense of closure after five years as the head coach in Philadelphia.

In his first public remarks since he was fired, Pederson spoke with John Clark for the inaugural episode of Takeoff with John Clark, a new podcast from NBC Sports Philadelphia. (Subscribe here.)

Pederson, 53, was joined by his son Josh, who is an NFL draft hopeful. Josh is a tight end from Louisiana-Monroe and will participate in his pro day this Thursday.

A relaxed Doug Pederson joined the Zoom call from South Florida and after talking about his son’s journey into the pre-draft process, opened up about the end of his tenure with the Eagles after five seasons, three playoff berths and a Super Bowl championship.

“From a closure standpoint, I just think about those great times, great moments I had in the five years,” Pederson said to Clark. “Obviously, we had a rough season this past year and things didn’t go our way and the injuries and whatnot. But I don’t focus on that. I focus on the good times, the good things, the people I’ve met, the relationships that I have and still hold dear to my heart. That, to me, gives me closure on any decision that was made. Because I know that I can obviously hold my head up high. Very proud of what I did in the five years in Philadelphia, obviously bringing that organization and that city a championship.”

Pederson isn’t harboring ill will toward the Eagles despite getting fired less than three years after leading the franchise to its first Super Bowl title. Two months after the Eagles fired him, Pederson said he’s already moved on.

“It’s water under the bridge,” Pederson said.

During a press conference back on Jan. 11, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said that Pederson did not deserve to be let go but instead cited a difference of opinions on the future of the franchise.

Back in January, it was reported that some of those major differences came down to coaching staff. Pederson reportedly wanted to stick with his guys and Lurie didn’t like that plan.

Clark asked Pederson if his firing came down to him standing his ground for his coaching staff:

“I’ve done that in my time there and obviously I’m going to always continue to stand up for the guys that I want to surround myself with and try to put my best foot forward,” Pederson said. “I feel like as the head coach, you should have that opportunity to have the guys around you. Because then it’s on me, then it’s my decision. If it goes south at that point, then that’s something I have to live with.

“I’m always going to stand up for those guys, whether they’re coaches, whether they’re players, front office people. Because you want to surround yourself with guys that are loyal, guys that are going to have your back and guys that are going to stand up for you because I’m going to stand up for every one of those players in that locker room, which I did for five years. And obviously my coaches are the same.”

Pederson said he’s hopeful about getting back into coaching in the future and he thinks the outpouring of support he’s received from fans and from folks around the NFL is proof that he did things the right way in Philly.

After five seasons at the helm, Pederson finished his Eagles coaching career with a 42-37-1 regular season record and a 4-2 record in the playoffs, which includes the win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

“I would have loved to have had an opportunity to really kind of fix the season last year and get the season back on track and really turn that thing around,” Pederson said. “I feel like that’s something that I really could have done. I understand where [Lurie is] coming from and obviously the situation moving forward.

“Again, I just continue to focus on those positives and think about my time there and think about if this were the time — and obviously this was the time — for me to leave, well guess what, I’m going out on a high note, I’m going out on top. I’m going out as a Super Bowl winning head coach in Philadelphia. Hopefully, I’ll be welcomed back in the city one day, whether I’m coaching on the other sideline or just coming back to visit. I look forward to those moments.”

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