Despite Public Statements, Power Struggle Seen As Impetus Behind Eagles' ShakeupPublished June 8, 2012
PARTING ON GOOD TERMS? In Philadelphia, Phil Sheridan writes, "For better or worse, the characteristic that defined Joe Banner during his 18 years running the Eagles was his singular loyalty to the organization." Even in making his exit, Banner's "main concern is casting the move, and the Eagles, in a positive light" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/8). In Philadelphia, Rich Hofmann writes, "From a distance, it was easy to wonder exactly what Banner was getting out of the job anymore. ... This might be naive, but it rings true. As Banner walked away, I did not see a knife in his back" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 6/8).
GOOD COP, BAD COP: In Philadelphia, Tamari notes Banner has "been a lightning rod" in his time with the Eagles. Many saw him "as haughty and out of touch, and his unyielding negotiating style led to resentment among some Eagles and, in turn, fans." Banner acknowledged that he "sometimes pushed too hard in negotiations and that some of his tactics made it seem he didn't value cherished players, citing the departure of safety Brian Dawkins as an example" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/8). The PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER's Tamari & McLane note Banner was seen "as the cold executive responsible for many of the team's most unpopular personnel moves, though Banner would argue that he was trying to make decisions in the team's best interests." He was "intentionally more distant as he sometimes made tough business decisions about whom to re-sign and how much to pay them." Some of that "responsibility for making difficult, unpopular choices may now fall to Roseman" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/8). Former NFLer Brian Dawkins said that he "knew Banner and his family away from the negotiating table, but when it came time to talk contract, Banner 'put the shark hat on.'" Dawkins said, "The thing for me is just it was really a lot of conceding. It was always in my opinion the player needed to concede or back down off of his stance on where he wants to be. I don’t know if it was always a 50/50 thing, maybe a 70/30 where the player has to give this much back, or not want this much back, and then the organization says this is not a fair deal" (PHILLY.com, 6/7). In Philadelphia, Sheridan writes at some point, if he is "doing his job right, Roseman will have to take a hard line in contract talks with players." He will have to "preside over the emotional departure of a fan favorite or two." He will have to "shield Reid from the blowback that comes from the business of the game." Sheridan: "We'll see if he's still fist-bumping the fellas in the locker room after a few years of that" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/8).
DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE: ESPN.com's Dan Graziano wrote Banner's decision "isn't a move that gets made if everybody's happy and getting along with each other." It is a "clear win for Reid, and the easy first reaction is that it makes him safer." But Graziano wrote, "Lurie was obviously upset with the way 2011 went, and if 2012 goes as badly or worse, it's entirely possible the Eagles will change their evolutionary plan. Reid could be fired, or relieved of coaching duties and moved into a front-office position, or resign on his own." Graziano: "In the case of Andy Reid, I think it is possible to be simultaneously on the hot seat and gaining power" (ESPN.com, 6/7). In Philadelphia, Bob Ford writes under the header, "Don't Believe The Hype: Banner Was The Odd Man Out In Eagles Front Office." Ford: "You can dress up what happened at the NovaCare bunker this week and send it to the prom, but no one will dance with the story the Eagles are telling about the 'executive succession plan' that cost Joe Banner his job." Only those who "don't know how fiercely loyal and combative Banner was about the organization could believe the fairy tale that it was his first choice to go off seeking some opportunity more appealing or challenging than winning a Super Bowl with the Eagles" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/8).
WHO'S THE NEW GUY? Also in Philadelphia, Chad Graff notes Lurie saw something in new President Don Smolenski "that he said revealed the work ethic of a rising star." Lurie and Banner said that they "have known for a few months that Smolenski was going to be the team's president, but they didn't tell him until last week" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/8). Smolenski is the "man who has been responsible for the team's bottom line for the last few years." Banner said, "Don is one of the unknown jewels in the NFL, and so deserving of this chance to help steer this great franchise going forward” (PHILLYDAILYNEWS.com, 6/8).
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