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Eagles re-up on Reid

Football: Embattled coach gets strong vote of confidence from Eagles owner after 8-8 season.

January 03, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

Rather than cleaning house to begin the new year, Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie issued a resounding vote of confidence in Coach Andy Reid and his staff on Tuesday afternoon, just two days after the final day of the 2011 NFL regular season that saw the team come up shy of making the playoffs, and miles short of its lofty championship aspirations.

While frank during Tuesday's press conference about his disappointment over the heavily hyped Eagles' letdown 8-8 season —calling it without question the most disappointing in his 18 years of ownership — Lurie's first postseason address to the media held good news for Reid, a former Glendale Community College player.

"Andy Reid not only has the love of his players and their respect, but he also has the fire in his belly to be the best," Lurie said, according to the Associated Press, in announcing that Reid will be back for a 14th season at the helm of the Eagles in 2012. "You've got to have the anger. You've got to have the motivation, the dedication, and the focus and the talent. My answer to those questions is yes. That's why I want to see our team coached by Andy Reid next year, and I can't wait to see that team play. There's no doubt in my mind, if our focus is on trying to win a championship next year, the best coach for that is Andy."

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Many considered the Eagles a lock to contend for the championship this season, if not at least build on last year's one-game playoff run, after resigning star quarterback Michael Vick and dominating headlines in the lockout-shortened offseason with a series of high-profile additions via free agency and trades.

But a glut of talent and experience did not translate into wins for Philadelphia, which struggled to assimilate new players into its defensive scheme and sputtered on offense, particularly when Vick missed a midseason stretch of games with an injury.

Much of the public blame fell to Reid and his embattled first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, with a group of fans even camping out across the street from the Eagles' practice facility with a banner calling for Reid's firing early in the team's four-game losing streak that began in the second week of the season.

As the campaign further disintegrated into an overall 4-8 start, the chorus of disapproval grew, a factor Lurie said he gave strong consideration to before deciding to retain Reid and giving him free rein to assemble next year's coaching staff.

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