New defensive coach joins the Eagles


Jay Valai, who got his NFL coaching start under Andy Reid with the Chiefs, is joining Nick Sirianni Eagles' coaching staff, according to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston.

Valai was just hired by the University of Houston 12 days ago after leaving Texas.

The Eagles already have Dennard Wilson in place as secondary coach, so it’s not exactly clear what role Valai will have, but he could be an assistant position coach, a safeties coach or a quality control coach – or something else entirely.

This is Valai’s sixth job since 2017.

Valai, a native of Euless, Texas, just north of Dallas, played college football at Wisconsin, where he was a three-year starter at safety from 2008 through 2010 and had two interceptions in 48 games.

Among his teammates at Wisconsin were Chris Maragos, Beau Allen and J.J. Watt.

Valai graduated in 2010 and according to a bio from when he coached at Rutgers, he founded Grindhouse Sports Training in Dallas in 2012 with former NFL cornerback Kevin Mathis and remained there through 2016.

He got his first coaching job as a defensive quality control assistant at the University of Georgia in 2016 under Kirby Smart and then spent 2018 as a quality control coach with the Chiefs, working under former Eagles defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas, who was the Chiefs’ secondary coach, and former Eagles cornerback Al Harris, who was CBs coach.

Valai then coached at Rutgers in 2019 and Texas in 2020 before accepting a job at Houston earlier this month.

According to the Aug. 30, 2008, edition of the Wisconsin State Journal, Valai hoped to become a sports-radio talk-show host after he graduated from Wisconsin.

“That’s a great job, to talk sports all day and get paid for it,” he told the paper. “No greater job to me.”

Valai is the 10th assistant coach reported to join Nick Sirianni’s coaching staff:

Head coach: Nick Sirianni

Defensive coordinator: Jonathan Gannon

Offensive coordinator: Shane Steichen

Special teams coordinator: Michael Clay

Quarterbacks coach: Brian Johnson

Passing game coordinator: Kevin Patullo

Tight ends: Jason Michael

Offensive line: Jeff Stoutland

Defensive line: Tracy Rocker

Defensive backs: Dennard Wilson

TBA: Jay Valai

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