Jeff Lurie on Duce: ‘He's like a son to me'

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Jeff Lurie spoke for 16 minutes and didn’t mention Doug Pederson. 

He certainly mentioned Duce Staley.

Lurie, in introducing new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, spoke fondly of Staley, who was up for the Eagles' head coaching vacancy.

First, he thanked Pederson's staff, although he didn't mention anybody by name:

“I want to take a moment to thank the coaches we have worked with that won’t be with us going forward because some of them, many of then, have been terrific partners,” Lurie said Friday. “We won a Super Bowl together and in the case of some, have been with us, with me, for a long, long time. ... It’s not easy to win a Super Bowl, it’s not easy to be in the playoffs three of the last four years, and they deserve a lot of credit.”

Then there’s Duce.

Lurie and Staley were together a long time. The Eagles drafted Staley in 1997, just three years after Lurie bought the team from Norman Braman. Staley played here for seven years, rushing for over 5,000 yards including the postseason, and coached here since 2010 under Andy Reid, Chip Kelly and Pederson.

There was a groundswell of support from the Eagles locker room for Lurie to hire Staley, but he went with Sirianni instead.

“In particular, just because he’s kind of like a son to me, I just want to talk about Duce because Duce is somebody very special to me,” Lurie said. “He’s been a terrific player, coach, leader for us. He’ll always be a Philadelphia Eagle.”

Staley interviewed for the Eagles’ head coaching position both after Kelly was fired and last week. He also interviewed twice for offensive coordinator jobs.

When he was bypassed for a promotion for a fourth time, he left the organization, joining Dan Campbell’s Detroit Lions staff earlier this week.

On Thursday, Staley said goodbye to the city of Philadelphia in this open letter.

“He and I talked well into the night the other night,” Lurie said. “I love the man. I just believe — and I think he believes — that it’s best for his goal of being a head coach in the league to work for another organization for a while and set himself up the way many of the candidates have, and it’ll help him and I just want the best for him. I think he’ll be an excellent leader wherever he is in the future and I just want to share that love for Duce. He’s very special.”

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