Castillo shouldn't take it personally; Eagles fans do

Posted: February 04, 2011

YESTERDAY should have been a great day for Juan Castillo. Finally, after serving dutifully and exceptionally on the offensive side of the football for 15 years, he was hired for a job he has long coveted, defensive coordinator.

It's a quirky and fun story of a 51-year-old former linebacker who found his niche coaching the Eagles' offensive line, but never lost his love for the defensive side, often scheming up things with late Eagles coordinator Jim Johnson.

Quirky and fun, that is, if presented properly. Not a chance. Castillo's hire was instead perceived by too many as the latest evidence that Andy Reid should be bought for what he is worth and sold for what he thinks he's worth.

Castillo awoke to read an acronym across the grim-faced image of his boss on the front of this newspaper that some construed to be obscene.

What's obscene about "Why This Fast"?

OK, so that's a little dishonest. And the last thing I want to do in a column about Reid deceiving the public is, well, deceive the public.

We all know what the letters mean. And if Castillo turned on the radio or bothered to read the comments after any of the countless Internet accounts of his hire, he undoubtedly saw a lot worse.

The Eagles have made a habit of unnecessarily enraging their fan base, which according to Forbes magazine, are "some of the most loyal in the NFL with season-ticket renewals regularly exceeding 99%." Reid, Joe Banner and Jeffrey Lurie habitually laud this devotion on game days, but the modus operandi in between is to mislead, misinform or downright lie to them.

Strong words. But the evidence ious indisputable, going back to the "security risk" baloney they slapped on us when trying to keep fans from carrying their salami sandwiches into the stadium.

When the Cowboys ended the Eagles' 2009 season, Reid insisted Donovan McNabb would return as his quarterback. When he traded McNabb he gave the job to Kevin Kolb, then testily insisted his young anointee would not lose his job after suffering an Opening Day concussion.

And the day after Green Bay ended this season, Reid insisted his young defensive coordinator, Sean McDermott, would return for a third season.

"I think you know that immediately after the season, you're very focused on the game you just lost," Reid explained Wednesday. "It's an emotional time. It's not a time to make a decision like that."

Perfect answer. The day after the season ended.

Between then and now, though - well, clumsy isn't a strong enough word. McDermott was apparently let go 5 days later, but it wasn't until hours before he was hired in Carolina that the Eagles formally acknowledged that to their fans. Similarly, fans discovered that linebackers coach Bill Shuey had been let go with McDermott only after he sheepishly disclosed that to a reporter while attending the Senior Bowl.

With a pass that still included his Eagles affiliation.

Don't "some of the most loyal in the NFL" deserve better than this?

The oddity is that Banner cares deeply what you think, and how the Eagles look. He is a legend inside our building, and I suspect others, for reaching out directly or via a high-placed employee when he does not like our back or front pages, or when he feels his team should have been featured on one or both.

In that he is no different from Ed Snider, whose publicity man has been known to make a phone call or two on behalf of better coverage.

The Phillies don't seem to do much of that, by the way. Then again, they've won a couple of championships over the last 4 decades. So maybe they don't feel they have to.

Last August, Forbes ranked the Eagles seventh among all NFL teams in value at $1.1 billion. Forbes estimated that $190 million of that traces to the Philadelphia market, another $169 million to the stadium they co-own with the city. The Jets, sixth on that list, trace just $110 million of their value to the new stadium they share with the Giants. Fourth on Forbes list, the Giants derive $116 million from their new monstrosity.

You know what accounts for some of that difference?

You. And you, and you.

Some of the most loyal in the NFL.

Juan Castillo deserved a better day yesterday than he got around here. If nothing else bothers Reid and the brass about this latest "To Tell The Truth" episode, that should.

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