Philadelphia Eagles owner: New Detroit Lions RBs coach Duce Staley ‘like a son to me’

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

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When Duce Staley was passed over for the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching job earlier this month, the former NFL running back decided to join Dan Campbell’s staff with the Detroit Lions in hopes of making sure that does not happen again.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, speaking at the introductory news conference for new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni on Friday, said Staley is “like a son to me” but that Staley ultimately felt like he had to leave Philadelphia to accomplish his goals.

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The Lions hired Staley earlier this week as running backs coach and assistant head coach.

“He’s been a terrific player, coach, leader for us,” Lurie said. “He’ll always be a Philadelphia Eagle. He and I talked well into the night the other night and I love the man. I just believe, and I think he believes, that it’s best for his goal of being a head coach in the league to work for another organization for a while and set himself up the way many of the candidates have.”

Staley spent most of his 23-year professional career with the Eagles as a player and coach before joining the Lions.

He played seven of his 10 NFL seasons for the team, ranks as the fifth-leading rusher in franchise history, and joined the team as a special teams quality control coach in 2011, a few years after his retirement.

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In 10 seasons as a coach with the Eagles, Staley was promoted to running backs coach (in 2013) and eventually added assistant head coach duties (in 2018).

According to NBC Sports, he also interviewed to be Eagles head coach in 2016, when the team hired Doug Pederson, and to be offensive coordinator in 2018 and 2020.

Staley is one of the three assistants on Campbell’s staff who neither has ties to Campbell as a coach or player nor was a holdover from Matt Patricia’s staff, but he did play for Campbell’s mentor, Sean Payton, with the Eagles.

Lurie said Staley “is somebody very special to me,” and suggested coming to Detroit will help Staley be a head coach in the NFL.

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“It’ll help him, and I just want the best for him,” Lurie said. “I think he’ll be an excellent leader for wherever he is in the future. I just want to share that love for Duce because he’s very special.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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