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Season of struggles for local bunch

Reid, Jackson both finish 8-8 and out of playoffs

Britton has back trouble.

February 04, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

The following are final updates on area athletes and coaches in the National Football League for the 2011-12 season.

Aside from the dominant local storyline of Flintridge Prep product Ramses Barden making it to today's Super Bowl XLVI, there were several other interesting threads to follow involving coaches and players with local roots.

In the coaching ranks, Philadelphia's Andy Reid was retained after many thought the star-studded Eagles' early struggles would cost the veteran coach his job. Conversely, Hue Jackson led the downtrodden Oakland Raiders to the cusp of an AFC West Division title in his first year on the job, only to be shown the door in a surprising move by an Oakland franchise in transition.

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The only other local player active this season was Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Eben Britton, whose forgettable campaign was marred, and ultimately ended prematurely by injuries.

The following are synopses of the aforementioned figures' triumphs and travails in an NFL season that rebounded from its offseason work stoppage in a big way and now has just a few hours left.

REID SURVIVES SEASON

OF DISAPPOINTMENT

From the time they first began to stockpile talent through free agency and trades in the lockout-shortened offseason, the Eagles were a trendy pick to go far this season, if not at least build on last year's one-game playoff run, but these birds never got off the ground.

Philadelphia struggled mightily to assimilate its new players into its defensive scheme and fared poorly at times on offense, as well, particularly when star quarterback Michael Vick went down with an injury midseason and missed several games.

Reid, who played at Glendale Community College, took the heat for much of the underachieving team's woes, which began with a 4-8 start and ended with Philadelphia missing the playoffs even after showing significant improvement down the stretch to finish 8-8. But regardless of the fan and media pressure — a group of fans took to 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 — owner Jeffrey Lurie chose to stay the course.

On Jan. 3, Lurie announced that Reid would be back for a 14th season in 2012 and have free rein to assemble his coaching staff, although he stopped short of saying whether or nor the final year of Reid's contract in 2014 would be honored.

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