When the offseason began, it became clear that Jeff Lurie, current owner of the Eagles, and his former right hand man and boyhood friend Joe Banner, now running the Cleveland Browns, were set for a showdown. Each side had targeted Chip Kelly as their #1 choice for their next head coach and each were all in on getting him.
Joe scored the first interview after the Fiesta Bowl and met with Chip for 7 hours. Jeff jumped in next and met with Chip for 9 hours.
In the end, Jeff got his man. But in the meantime, Jeff's new right hand man, Howie Roseman, started to come under fire. You see, the Browns didn't get Chip Kelly because they didn't want him... or at least that's what they put out afterward. But the Eagles didn't get him because he simply didn't want to work with Howie Roseman.
And the assault on Roseman continued with personal attacks from CBS' Jason LaCanfora who cited sources saying Roseman was "drunk with power," "woefully out of his depth" and that he was the reason no one wanted the Eagles job.
In the end, the Chip Kelly hire certainly makes all that speculation seem untrue and Jeff Lurie told CSNPhilly's Ruben Frank that he thinks it was fueled from Cleveland.
"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."
There can be little doubt what "based in Cleveland" means. He's not talking about Browns owner Jimmy Haslam...
For his part, Banner vehemently denies being the guy whispering in LaCanfora's ear.
"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."
Banner was the guy who brought Roseman into the Eagles organization as a cap counselor. But soon, the upwardly mobile Roseman was bringing ideas to Andy Reid and began to be shepherded up through the organization on the personnel side. Howie was on the way up and he was Andy's guy.
Then, prior to the 2012 draft, Jeff Lurie, unhappy with the performance in the most recent 2 drafts "streamlined the process." Now, we don't know exactly what that meant, but the reporting was that it meant Banner was out of the process and Roseman was given an increased role. Soon after, Banner left the organization.
So you can at least see where Banner may not exactly like Howie. Given the reports over the years about how much players hated Joe due to his tough negotiation style... you can also kind of see how it's not entirely out of Joe's character to diss an opponent.
Lurie says it was frustrating to hear all of this reports, knowing they were wrong but still being to focused on the search to deal with it.
"We knew strategically what was going on with league sources and stuff like that," Lurie said. "This was such erroneous reporting it was insane. The people we interviewed and the people who called the people we interviewed were so positive that I think it dwarfed any of the individual agendas of anybody that was quoted as league sources. It was a joke to us, really."
Certainly check out Roob's full story because it really is fantastic and I just can't get enough of Lurie vs Banner battle. This is Shakespearean stuff.
Joe Banner is not bad at what he does. He's a shrewd businessman and as you can see with his latest money making deal to name the Browns stadium, he's executing on his job already... But he's also kind of a snake and if he was behind this anti-Howie campaign, that's low.
Either way, I hope this isn't over. This Banner vs Lurie narrative entertains me to no end.