Eagles finally announce Musgrave hiring as quarterbacks coach

ASSOCIATED PRESS John Fox no longer thinks much about his heart surgery.
ASSOCIATED PRESS John Fox no longer thinks much about his heart surgery.
Posted: January 29, 2014

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The Eagles managed to make a ripple of Super Bowl-week news yesterday, finally announcing the hiring of Bill Musgrave as their quarterbacks coach, something that was widely reported last week.

If you were hoping for something from Eagles coach Chip Kelly on why Musgrave is the new quarterbacks coach, though, you were out of luck. The announcement told us only where Musgrave has played and coached; it didn't even feature a quote from him about why this might be an appealing opportunity for the former Eagles offensive assistant (in 1998), who most recently was the Minnesota Vikings' offensive coordinator, before head coach Leslie Frazier was fired in late December.

Musgrave, 46, was a quarterback at Oregon who played briefly for the 49ers. In that 3-13 1998 Eagles season, he ended up calling plays down the stretch, as the Ray Rhodes era crashed and burned. He has been QBs coach and then offensive coordinator in Carolina, offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia, offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, and QBs coach in Washington and Atlanta.

The Eagles also announced the expected promotion of Mike Dawson from defensive quality control to assistant defensive-line coach, replacing Erik Chinander, who returned to the University of Oregon as linebackers coach. Former Oregon linebacker Michael Clay takes Dawson's old job.

Bottom to top

Denver linebacker Paris Lenon played for Detroit in 2008, when the Lions went 0-16. As the Broncos were being interviewed aboard a docked cruise ship yesterday, Lenon was asked to reflect on that time.

"I'll say this: When you're in a situation like that, you have a certain amount of guys that pack it in," said Lenon, 36, who has been with seven NFL teams and is the only active former XFL player. "That's difficult for me, because I'm not that type of person. I'm going to compete to the end."

Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril also played for the '08 Lions. He was asked about that just after the Seahawks arrived Sunday night.

"That's the first thing I thought about," Avril said. "Rookie year, I didn't win any games, and then 5, 6 years later, I'm at the big show and hopefully about to win it. It's been a long run, I guess, in a sense."

Heart scare

Denver coach John Fox looks trim and fit, after missing 4 weeks in the middle of the season in the wake of emergency heart-valve surgery. He was asked yesterday whether what he's been through makes him more appreciative of being here.

"First and foremost, I am appreciative of this, regardless of any health scares or any of the things I've been through. This is a very hard place to get to," Fox said. "I've been blessed to do it three times, once as an assistant and twice as a head coach. Going back . . . It was a little bit scary for a minute. I really don't think about it much now. The first 4 days, I thought about it a little bit, because it was like getting hit by a truck. I got better every day, just like any player who has been through an injury. I never thought I wouldn't be back, once I was going through the process. Fortunately, I had my family and good medical people, and here I am. I really haven't thought about it much, to be honest with you, here recently."

Transition game

Denver tight end Julius Thomas played 4 years of basketball at Portland State and only 1 year of football, after which the Broncos drafted him in the fourth round. Somebody asked yesterday whether he'd ever envisioned playing in the Super Bowl. He hadn't.

"This isn't something that I imagined doing when I was 20 years old getting ready to play in the NCAA Tournament. I wasn't thinking, 'Man, if you just fast forward that clock a little bit, you'll be competing in the biggest game in America.' It's just a blessing to be here, I've been very blessed in my athletic career," Thomas said.

Though Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham made the basketball-to-tight end transition, Thomas said he reported to the Broncos with a slightly different idea.

"I was, like, 'Coach, I'm going to be a great wide receiver for you guys.' I came out here and he was like. 'Yeah . . . ' The first day of practice, the tight-ends coach [Clancy Barone] said, 'Julius, you're over here.' [I was like] 'What? Hold on. I don't know about all of that.' Coach Barone sat me down and we talked about it. He told me he felt that if I played tight end, I would create matchup problems. I really thank him for helping me to decide to play tight end. It was a great move on his part to not let me play receiver. I've loved playing tight end ever since."

On Twitter: @LesBowen

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