Pat Shurmur will be making an unexpected return to the Eagles, the team he spent 10 seasons working for under former head coach Andy Reid.
Shurmur, who was recently fired after two seasons as Browns head coach, will be joining new head coach Chip Kellys staff as offensive coordinator, according to a league source. ESPN first reported the move.
The pairing seems odd given Shurmurs pedigree in the West Coast offense that Reid operated in his 14 seasons as Eagles coach. Kelly, the former University of Oregon coach, ran variations of a spread offense at Oregon and New Hampshire.
The Eagles arent commenting on any staff transactions.
Both offenses use multiple receiver formations to create mismatches in the passing game but the West Coast offense is more based on timing and rhythm of passes while Kellys spread offense has usually functioned with a mobile quarterback and incorporated more of the running game.
Shurmur has also become accustomed to calling the offensive plays since leaving the Eagles in 2008 to become offensive coordinator in St Louis under head coach Steve Spagnuolo, another former Reid assistant.
Its widely assumed that Kelly will be the play caller for an offensive attack that he designs and implements in his inaugural NFL season.
Shurmurs addition could signify Kellys interest in retaining Michael Vick, who is slated to make 15.5 million next season, but would likely be asked to restructure his deal to return for his fifth season.
Vick, who will be 33, has lost a step over the years, but is still a dangerous threat to run and could have his mobility and strong arm maximized in Kellys offense. Shurmur spent the last six seasons of his tenure on Reids staff as Donovan McNabbs position coach, helping McNabb morph from a run-minded quarterback into a well-rounded passer who could break down defenses with his arms or legs.
But there is also reason to think Shurmurs presence would be a sign of Kellys faith in second-year pro Nick Foles. Shurmur was credited with the development of Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick who was named Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, the only year he was coached by Shurmur. Bradford completed 60 percent of his passes that season, which is still a personal best.
Shurmur, the nephew of Fritz Shurmur, who won a Super Bowl as the Packers defensive coordinator, spent 10 of his 14 NFL coaching seasons on Reids staff. He started as tight ends coach from 1999-2001 before moving onto quarterbacks coach.
McNabb made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons with Shurmur as his position coach and the Eagles made the playoffs five times in Shurmurs seven seasons coaching quarterbacks. Shurmur was also coaching quarterbacks when Jeff Garcia took over for an injured McNabb during the 2006 season and took the Eagles two rounds deep in the postseason.
After one season with the Rams he accepted the head coaching job in Cleveland, where Reids mentor, Mike Holmgren, was president and where his former Eagles general manager Tom Heckert manned the same post.
The Browns improved from 4-12 in 2010 to 5-11 in 2011 and won three of their last six games, but Shurmur was fired by Browns new CEO Joe Banner, a former Eagles president who had lost a power struggle with Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and was forced out before the season.
Banner then cleaned house in Cleveland, revamping the front office and coaching staff. Shurmur interviewed for the offensive coordinator vacancy in Carolina, where former Reid assistant Ron Rivera is head coach, but didnt get the job.
E-mail Geoff Mosher at firstname.lastname@example.org