Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley flattered by attention he got in Philly

Posted: January 24, 2013

MOBILE, Ala. - The "Gus Bus" seems like a relic already, but really, as Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley stood at the Senior Bowl Tuesday and reflected on a dizzying NFL hiring process, he was only a week removed from news helicopters chronicling his arrival in Philadelphia.

Nine days previously, Bradley had run the Seattle Seahawks' defense in their playoff loss at Atlanta, the day after Bradley first talked to the Eagles about their head-coaching job. Bradley acknowledged Tuesday that he was preoccupied with the looming playoff game that first time around, that the interview did not have his full attention.

The second interview, last Tuesday, the Eagles were Bradley's focus, and he was the focus of Eagles Nation, even if the team brass was secretly reviving the Chip Kelly talks.

For many fans, the question was whether the Birds would be able to sign Bradley before he left for an interview the next day in Jacksonville. Only the Eagles' search committee, Kelly, and Kelly's agent, David Dunn, knew Kelly had re-entered the field, and that the Eagles were negotiating with Kelly as they entertained Bradley. Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie has said he told Bradley only that the Eagles were involved with another candidate, who "had head coaching experience."

Did Bradley, like most of Philadelphia, think that night he was close to getting the job? The Eagles have said they would have hired Bradley if they couldn't have gotten Kelly.

"I didn't know," Bradley said after Tuesday's North team practice. "I knew that they just needed some time. My whole intent was to [then] go down to Jacksonville and see what that was all about. Once I got on the plane and was headed there, I forgot about Philadelphia. I knew that would come in time, their decision, and I really wanted my focus to be to do a good job down in Jacksonville."

The "Gus Bus" Philly hysteria "was crazy," Bradley said, laughing. He said that after he landed, he was told the intense media interest was why his chartered jet was diverted from Philadelphia International Airport to the Northeast.

"It was flattering," he said. "I think it wasn't me, it was just the possibility of a new head coach."

Bradley said he learned he wasn't getting the Eagles' job in a Wednesday phone call from Lurie. He said he never knew Kelly was the other finalist.

"We had a great conversation," Bradley said. "I thought they handled it first-class. The whole process and how they dealt with me, I couldn't ask for a better opportunity and I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed getting to know what they were looking for. It was exciting."

Birdseed

The Eagles met with all the quarterbacks at the Senior Bowl Tuesday night, including Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, from Malvern Prep . . . Ex-Eagles linebackers coach Mike Caldwell is here working for the Arizona Cardinals (and their defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles). But ex-safeties coach Mike Zordich is here looking for a job. Obviously, the play of the Eagles' safeties in 2012 didn't help Zordich's cause . . . Howie Roseman said he isn't sure he's been able to grasp the whole Manti Te'o situation; obviously, the Eagles will look into it before the NFL Scouting Combine next month. Asked if he knew what "catfishing" was, Roseman said: "I got a house on the Gulf about an hour and a half away. Sometimes we go out on the Gulf and we put our lines in the water and we get a catfish; that's the only time I've heard of it" . . .

Former Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn has joined the Lions as a "defensive assistant," giving Wash a chance to work with his son Jeremiah, the offensive line coach. "The chance to walk out on the field with your son every day . . . that's pretty special," Washburn told the Detroit Free Press. Washburn said the Eagles job "just wasn't a good fit. But this is a perfect fit." Lots of Lions staffers have worked with Washburn before, including head coach Jim Schwartz. That was not the case in Philadelphia.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

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