Ten days after stepping down from the Giants’ coaching job, Tom Coughlin stepped away from the Eagles’. And perhaps coaching for good.
With Philadelphia seemingly on the verge of making the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach an offer, Coughlin withdrew his name from consideration after a second interview with his former NFC East rival on Thursday. The Eagles reportedly offered the job to Chiefs offensive coordinator and former backup quarterback Doug Pederson later in the day, although the team is not allowed to announce it until the Chiefs’ season ends. Kansas City plays New England in an AFC divisional-round playoff game on Saturday.
“We have concluded our search for a head coach,” an Eagles team spokesman said. “No further interviews are scheduled.”
Pederson appears to be the third option for the Eagles, who also interviewed Ben McAdoo before he officially became the Giants’ new coach on Thursday. It is believed that the Eagles’ interest in McAdoo nudged the Giants in the timing of their decision, if not the decision itself. Hiring McAdoo kept him away from the Eagles, but it also might have kept Coughlin away from the Eagles.
Coughlin, when he left the Giants last week, said he is “not necessarily done with coaching.” The Eagles immediately became an enticing option because of the proximity to his family and grandchildren, most of whom live in New Jersey, and his knowledge of their personnel based on having faced them twice a year for the past 12 seasons. He initially met with team owner Jeffrey Lurie on Monday.
But Coughlin had football concerns, too, most specifically about a potential offensive coordinator. There was talk that he would bring McAdoo with him to the Eagles to run the offense and be a head coach-in-waiting, but that option fell through when McAdoo took the Giants’ job.
Many of Coughlin’s assistant coaches remain under contract with the Giants. The Giants have allowed some of them to interview with other teams, but not within the division. Had the Giants hired someone from outside the current staff to bring in his own staff, those coaches might have been free to fall in with Coughlin in Philadelphia.
Coughlin also spoke with the 49ers about their coaching vacancy this week. On Thursday the 49ers named former Eagles coach Chip Kelly as their new coach.
With the Titans the only other opening in the NFL — the Buccaneers reportedly will hire offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to replace the fired Lovie Smith — and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels expected to get the Tennessee job, this almost certainly ends Coughlin’s coaching career. He’ll be 70 when the 2016 season begins, and the Giants as well as other teams have reached out to him about front-office advisory roles in personnel. He still has one year remaining on his contract with the Giants.
Coughlin still may have the fire to coach in the NFL, but he doesn’t have a fireplace.