Philadelphia Eagles

Duce Staley explains why he decided to leave for Detroit


Eagles great Duce Staley asked out of his coaching contract with the team earlier this offseason to take a job as the running backs coach and assistant head coach with the Lions.

After spending a decade with the Eagles in various coaching roles, and being passed over twice for the team's head coaching job, it felt like Staley had seen enough in Philly to know the organization didn't value him and his future.

And this week, Staley explained to the Detroit media why he felt leaving Philly and going to the Lions was the right call for his career.

Here's what Staley said about the decision:

"I get a call from [Detroit head coach Dan] Campbell, he was super excited on the phone. I felt the energy on the phone. And then [Detroit defensive coordinator] Aaron Glenn gave me a call. He was like, 'Hey man, we're building something special here. I want you to be a part of it.' 

"And when I got those two phone calls, man, I'm telling you, you know - being in Philadelphia for so long, each year I would get phone calls or opportunities to kind of see what was out there, interest from other clubs, of course. 

"But when those two guys reached out to me, it felt good. It felt right. And I was happy to be a part of this, and I couldn't wait to get here."

It's not surprising that Campbell and Glenn blew Staley away on the phone with their energy and excitement about the new staff. For Staley to leave behind the organization he spent a combined 16 years with, across his playing and coaching career, it would take a special opportunity, and Staley clearly felt this job in Detroit can be something special.

But it probably stings for Eagles fans to hear that a rival coaching staff, with nowhere near the long-time emotional connection that Philadelphia and the Eagles have with Staley, would be able to steal him away from the city without the Eagles' organization expressing that same kind of energy and excitement about keeping him here.

Staley wrote a touching letter on NBC Sports Philadelphia two weeks ago to Eagles fans, thanking them for their support over the years, and this line felt at least a little telling about the decision:

"I am very sad to leave this great organization and city and fans, but I am looking forward to the growth opportunities that lie ahead despite the uncertainties."

It'll be fascinating to watch from afar and see how Staley's coaching path winds from here.

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