Carmichael Named To New Eagles Post The Ex-birds Star Will Wear A Number Of Hats. Basically, Though, He'll Be There For The Players.

Posted: April 29, 1998

Harold Carmichael is an Eagle again. The legendary wide receiver was introduced yesterday as the team's director of player and community relations.

In the newly created position, Carmichael, 48, will be a combination mentor, confidant, troubleshooter, and liaison between the players and the authority figures in the organization.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said he had been thinking of creating such a job for some time.

``I'll be getting paid by the men upstairs,'' Carmichael said, ``but I'm here for the guys downstairs - the players.''

For 13 seasons, from 1971 through 1983, Carmichael was among the best of players. He joined the Eagles as a seventh-round pick from Southern University, began building his reputation in years when the team struggled, then became an integral part of the fine teams of the Dick Vermeil era.

After Carmichael retired, he settled in South Jersey, operating businesses as varied as steel fabrication and sports marketing. He said he had sought on several occasions to return to the Eagles.

``I tried to come back as a wide-receivers coach under Buddy Ryan and again under Rich Kotite,'' Carmichael said. ``I've always felt like I was part of this organization.''

Carmichael tried again last year, talking to Lurie about the need for a presence like the one Calvin Hill had become with the Dallas Cowboys. When the Arizona Cardinals were in town, Carmichael pointed out that they had two people - Garth Jax and Earl Edwards - doing the kinds of things he was talking about. As it happened, Lurie was already considering adding just such a position.

``It's something I had been talking to Lem Burnham about,'' Lurie said, referring to the former Eagle who is the NFL's vice president of player and employee development. ``To really do it right, you really have to have somebody in house. Harold has all the right ingredients.''

After talking to several other former Eagles players, including Mike Quick and Randy Logan, Lurie chose Carmichael. It helped that Carmichael was well-acquainted with coach Ray Rhodes from their days as on-field combatants. Carmichael had been a welcome visitor to Rhodes' program from the beginning.

As a Philadelphia-area resident for more than 25 years, Carmichael is aware of the off-the-field misadventures that have tarnished the Eagles' reputation.

``I want to be able to assist Ray,'' Carmichael said. ``This is something a lot of coaches have to go through - worrying about whether they're going to get that call in the night. I want to intercept those calls. I want them to call me.''

Carmichael's responsibilities will be many and varied. If a player is having trouble at home, he can talk to Carmichael. If he is looking to go back to college or to prepare himself for life after football, Carmichael will help. If he finds himself out late and in need of a safe ride home, he can call Carmichael.

``We want to create a family atmosphere here,'' Carmichael said. ``When I was playing, we'd get together after games - 20 or 25 guys and their wives or girlfriends - and we'd go out to get something to eat, have a few beers. Now, when the game's over, it's like a bomb is going to be dropped. You see guys scattering.

``I'm going to be out on the field every day if I can. I've been around long enough to know if a guy has problems just by watching him on the field. I'm going to talk to the players, and what they tell me is going to stay between us. I'm going to be the problem-solver here.''

Notes. Quarterback Bobby Hoying, released from Graduate Hospital, stopped by the Eagles' offices briefly before going home. Hoying was planning to be at the Vet the next two days, when the team completes its voluntary passing camp. He has undergone two surgical procedures in the last two weeks - one to remove his appendix and the second to remove an abscess in his abdomen - and will not practice with the team. . . . Cornerback Troy Vincent, who skipped the team's weekend minicamp, was not at the Vet yesterday. Rhodes had said Sunday that he expected Vincent to take part in this week's workouts.

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