At Philadelphia Eagles training camp in Bethlehem this weekend came a reminder that it’s not just players who have their futures at stake at camp and during the upcoming season.
Head coach Andy Reid’s agent, Bob LaMonte, also showed that it’s not just player agents who pull stunts at camp.
During a visit to camp on Saturday, LaMonte pow-wowed with reporters as if it was the most natural thing for him to do, making the assertion that team owner Jeffrey Lurie has said to him that as long as he is the team’s owner, Andy Reid would be the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. The specific verbiage was that Lurie
has stated again and again, any time that I’ve been with him that as long as he’s the owner of the Eagles Andy Reid would be his coach. And I’d say the proof of the pie is in the pudding. He’s been here 14 years.
I don’t think there’s any pressure for him to do any more than he was the year before or the year before that. His production speaks for itself and I think the Eagles have a chance to have a good team this year. And I don’t think anybody sat down with Andy and said, ‘If you don’t win X number of games you’re in trouble.’
Team owner Jeffrey Lurie was one individual who was not amused by LaMonte’s, claim, issuing a rebuttal the same evening.
Bob is a great agent who we have an outstanding relationship with. As much respect as all of us have for Andy Reid, it is the nature of the profession that all coaches, executives and players are evaluated each year. That’s the way we have always operated. But our focus right now, and I know Andy feels the same way, is solely on the 2012 season.
Foll0wing the the back and forth , Reid didn’t seem particularly concerned, saying on Sunday, “It’s fine. That’s not where [LaMonte] was really coming from. I understand both sides. . . . I got it. I know the picture. So I’m not worried about all that.” He went on to say, “I don’t even go beyond that. I didn’t even go through and read all the stuff, but it seemed like both people were positive, and that’s not even where I’m at.”
The tactic by LaMonte may have been planned before the tragic death of Reid’s son, Garrett. But the timing is particularly off-putting. With the move clearly created to play to the press, and by extension the public, was the outpouring of sympathy expressed for Reid from the organization and fans supposed to serve as an opportunity to seek contract talks? Was the hope that the clear emotion expressed by Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman at Reid’s loss would serve to illustrate a relationship stronger than team records?
The assertion that anyone in the NFL–player, coach, or general manager–is above performance review is absurd. Relationships can be strong but games must be won. Both in the regular season and in the playoffs. The Eagles have struggled in particular with the latter half of that statement, not winning a playoff game in four years.
Think Lurie can’t make a distinction between friendship and business? Go talk to Joe Banner.
Now, just like so many players during his tenure as head coach, Andy Reid hopes to force the organization’s hand and talk about his contract. He has two years left on his current deal but that time is by no means guaranteed. And Lurie has made that clear.
Trying to smooth over the moves by his agent, Reid say, “I think the best thing that Bob said was if and when it ever came down to that, it’s between Jeff and I. So I’m lucky, lucky to have him as an owner.”
Reid and LaMonte both know that the performance of the Birds on the field will speak volumes about the way the eventual conversation about Reid’s future with the Eagles will go.