Catfight!: Lurie and Banner Edition
We recently passed along a report from Jason La Canfora that didn’t really quote anyone directly (or even a source), but that said there were folks around the NFL who think that Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman is “out of his head” in terms of their head coaching search. Now that the team has hired Chip Kelly, the powers that be would like to make it be known that they didn’t appreciate that report.
And owner Jeffrey Lurie names names.
Specifically, he calls out his childhood friend and long-time Eagles top executive Joe Banner. He claims that Banner was the one talking to La Canfora and putting those vibes out there.
“I’m very supportive of Howie, and if there’s any criticism coming from afar about Howie, it’s just off-base, and so I will support Howie completely, because that’s not right,” Lurie said.
“And, you know, if there are league sources that are really based in Cleveland, that’s not right. We see through it all,” he continued.
Would Joe assume that he was referring to him? Maybe it was former Eagles assistant Pat Shurmur! Even though he’s no longer in Cleveland and would have absolutely no axe to grind with Roseman whatsoever! What about Brandon Weeden?! Was he mad that the Eagles took Fletcher Cox instead of him? Even though they weren’t looking for a QB that high in the draft?! Josh Cribbs?? Noooo!
Nope, Joe figured out who they were talking about; he released a statement:
“It is always difficult to comment on a quote that may or may not be accurate or in context. In this case, from the comments which Jeffrey made that were communicated to me, it is necessary for me to make this clear, unambiguous statement. Any implication that I had anything to do with Jason La Canfora’s story is completely false, outrageous and borders on being libelous.
“I had absolutely no conversation with Jason La Canfora. Having demonstrated my character over the last 44 years to Jeffrey and the last 14 to Howie, it is beyond disappointing that they would suggest such a thing. As tempting as it is to go further, other than defending myself, I will continue to take the high road on all such matters as I have since the day I left the Eagles.”
This is great theater. The first person Lurie hired back in 1994 when he purchased the Eagles was Banner. And these two go way back to their childhoods. So, this is better than some typical Lane Kiffin/Al Davis catfight. And obviously, both teams were in competition for the services of Chip Kelly, whom the Eagles were able to land.
But, notice that Banner mentions the word “libelous?” Why do we get the feeling that a guy like Banner is of the litigious nature? Lurie better have some serious proof if he wants to call out Banner like that. Although, how awesome would a libel suit be?
Certainly more entertaining than the product that either the Browns or the Eagles have put on the football field the last several years.