McNabb: Banner took power from Reid, groomed Roseman

Posted: January 05, 2013

The idea that Andy Reid always had final say is a bit of a myth, according to former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Before being ousted in June, team president Joe Banner sometimes exercised more authority than Reid, who was fired Monday, McNabb said Thursday on Comcast SportsNet's Daily News Live.

As reported earlier today, McNabb also said on the show that the Eagles should hire a defensive-minded coach, not offensively innovative University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly. McNabb also dismissed rumors about a return to the playing field, perhaps with Reid, reportedly on the verge of closing a deal to the next head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Banner remarks came in response to a question from host Michael Barkann: "As far as you know, when you were with the team, the 'final-say' provision, who had it? Was it Andy? Was it Joe?"

Although McNabb initially said, "You know, we had no clue," he elaborated with an air of being knowledgeable.

"It seems like when Andy went through his issues with the family and his sons early on, that was a time for Joe to step in and try to make every decision," McNabb said. "That's when you kind of felt like Andy lost his power. And every decision that was made, it was going through Joe."

A common public perception was that Eagles general managers had clout in the organization, but McNabb painted a different picture.

"It didn't matter who the GM was at that time, because when Tom Heckert was here, it seemed like Joe made every decision," McNabb said. "And it was so easy for him to just kind of push Heckert out, you know. Heckert was up for the Atlanta job, and he told him to go and interview for it."

Heckert, who became Eagles GM in January 2006, left four years later to assume the same title with Cleveland Browns. But on Monday, a few months after Banner was named Browns CEO, Heckert was fired.

When Heckert left the Eagles, Howie Roseman took over as GM, but at first he seemed to be doing Banner's bidding, according to McNabb.

Banner "was already grooming Howie" to take Heckert's position, "so basically he could make every decision and just have Howie there with the title. And that's the way things were the last couple years, of Howie just being there, you know, suggesting a lot of things, but with Joe making the decision," McNabb said.

That seems to fit remarks made Monday by owner Jeffrey Lurie, who gave Roseman credit for the 2012 draft, but took him off the hook for previous ones.

"The mistakes that were made in the 2011 draft have little or nothing to do with Howie's evaluations," Lurie said.

McNabb seemed to confirm rumors of power struggles: "Now Andy came back and regained some of the power, but Joe was the one that was holding all of the power, I felt, and everyone in the locker room knew that."

In the last couple of days, rumors have suggested that Heckert might join Reid in Kansas City as general manager. However, recent reports say Packers director of football operations John Dorsey had emerged as the front runner. Today, Scott Pioli, who held the general manager post in Kansas City for the last four seasons, resigned.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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