Not so fast on Spagnuolo to Eagles?

December, 28, 2011
12/28/11
9:44
AM ET
This is an example of how seeking a broad range of perspectives on a subject is the most effective way to ensure the best possible analysis of it. Mike Garafolo, the great New York Giants beat writer for The Star-Ledger, was reading all of the stuff that came out Tuesday speculating that Steve Spagnuolo would be the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator if and when he's fired as head coach of the Rams at the end of this season. Something didn't sit right with Mike, who knows Spagnuolo and doesn't think he parted on the best terms with the Eagles.

So Mike dug up a Star-Ledger story about Spagnuolo from 2008. It's a really good story about Spagnuolo's life and career, and worth the read. But for our purposes at the moment, this is the important part:
The next morning, Giants coach Tom Coughlin called. On Sunday, Spagnuolo drove to Giants Stadium, nailed the interview and was offered the job. When he returned to the Eagles complex, it was to pack up his belongings, not sign a contract, which would have been difficult because Spagnuolo felt Eagles coach Andy Reid had kept him from a promotion.

People close to Spagnuolo say he was in the running to become the Minnesota Vikings' defensive coordinator in 2006, but Reid wouldn't release him from his contract. Reid was worried that longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson would take a head-coaching job, and Reid wanted Spagnuolo to move into that slot.

But when Johnson dawdled, then decided he didn't want to interview for any available head-coaching positions, Vikings coach Brad Childress already had hired Mike Tomlin. Spagnuolo was crushed.

"Those were probably the darkest days," said a friend, who requested anonymity. "Working for the Eagles the last year was very tough for him."

So, hey, something else to consider as Eagles fans imagine Spagnuolo (who hasn't been fired yet, by the way, and will be pursued by more than one team if he is) as the answer to all of their problems. A quote from an anonymous source in a four-year-old story doesn't necessarily mean that Spagnuolo wouldn't want to return to the Eagles as their defensive coordinator. It doesn't mean things are bad between Spagnuolo and Andy Reid. But it's at least worth stepping back and wondering if the solution that makes sense in all of our heads looking in from the outside makes sense in the heads of the people who'd actually be making the decision. Call it food for thought, in case the breakfast links weren't enough to hold you.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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