By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – During the whirlwind of Eagles free agent signings before the 2011 season, most thought that it seemed out of character for Andy Reid. According to one report, he wanted the team to be a little more in character, or he was ready to walk. The report also says that Reid was interested in pursuing Peyton Manning.
Two NFL insiders, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid was ready to walk away from the Eagles if he didn’t get more personnel control, and now he has it. We’ve seen a flurry of decisive moves by the Eagles in recent weeks, including finally cutting a blockbuster deal with receiver DeSean Jackson; extending two good soldiers, defensive end Trent Cole and right tackle Todd Herremans, outbidding the Ravens to keep guard Evan Mathis; and trading for Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
Something else about the Eagles: Reid wanted to jump in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, despite the signing of Michael Vick to a six-year, $100-million contract last season. Talks never got too serious, the insiders say, because Manning didn’t like the idea of playing against his brother Eli, quarterback of the New York Giants, at least twice a season.
A side note in Los Angeles is a major headline in Philadelphia. “It was the fifth item in my notes column, kind of emptying out my notebook,” Farmer said in an interview with 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Dan Klecko. “I had an idea that it was going to spark interest, but certainly in Philly, it caught fire.”
In response to the report, the Eagles released a statement in which Reid said, “We look into everything, as all teams do. And I have the highest regard for Peyton Manning. But as I said publicly last month, that wasn’t the direction we were heading in. Michael is our guy. As far as the personnel control, I have had final say on personnel matters for quite some time here and that’s never been an issue or a point of contention. Our front office works very well together and that’s one of our strengths.”
“It’s clear that Andy now is taking care of the guys,” Farmer said about players like DeSean Jackson, who the Eagles re-signed. “We’ve heard some of the rumblings that he wanted to get some of these deals done. He wanted to remove any barriers of that happening. In doing so he said ‘hey I want control of the purse strings. I want to make those decisions. If not, I’ll leave. I’m ready to go.'”
How close did it actually come to Reid leaving? “You know, I wish I had that. Exactly what was said,” Farmer said. “I don’t want to be tempted to go beyond what I do know. And that’s what I do know, that’s what I got cold and solid from sources. Anything else would be conjecture.”