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Andy Reid: “These Have Been The Greatest 14 Years Of My Life”

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andy Reid’s worst coaching season with the Philadelphia Eagles ended Monday after 14 years when he was fired by owner Jeffrey Lurie, who said it was time “to move in a new direction.”

The dismissal came one day after Reid and the Eagles were humiliated 42-7 by the New York Giants and ended their season at 4-12.

“Andy leaves us with a winning tradition that we can build upon. And we are very excited about the future,” Lurie said in a statement released by the team.

The team pushed back a scheduled noon EST news conference to 1 p.m.

Reid took over a 3-13 team in 1999, drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and quickly turned the franchise into a title contender.

He is the winningest coach in club history and led them to a run of four straight NFC championship games, a streak that ended with a Super Bowl trip after the 2004 season — and a loss, 24-21, to the New England Patriots.

Still, Reid cemented Philadelphia as a football town — though the Eagles have never won the NFL title — and led the team to an unmatched level of success. But the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008 and after last season’s 8-8 finish, Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year.

Instead, it was even worse.

Reid sounded like a man who knew he was going to be out of work when he addressed the media after the Giants game.

“I go in eyes wide open,” Reid said, referring to his upcoming meeting Monday with Lurie. “Either way, I understand. Whatever he chooses will be the right thing. He always does things for the best interests of the Eagles.”

Lurie said the search for Reid’s successor begins immediately.

Reid is due to make $6 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract. He is the franchise leader in wins (140) and winning percentage (.578) and led the Eagles to six division titles and five NFC championship games.

It already had been a difficult year for Reid. He endured a devastating loss weeks before the season opener when his oldest son, Garrett, died at training camp after a long battle with drug addiction.

In October, Reid fired close friend and longtime assistant Juan Castillo, who was in his second season as defensive coordinator after coaching the offensive line for 13 years. He later fired defensive-line coach Jim Washburn.

After beating the defending Super Bowl champion Giants on Sept. 30, the Eagles lost eight straight games — their worst losing streak in 42 years.

PhiladelpiaEagles.com posted video of Lurie and Reid addressing team employees, who gave Reid a big ovation. Lurie handed him a game ball.

“I have a hard time standing before people without a few boos involved. But I’m taking it, I’m taking it all in,” Reid said. “These have been the greatest 14 years of my life.”

He added: “Sometimes change is good. … I know the next guy that comes in will be phenomenal. The ultimate goal is a Super Bowl. Everybody in this room, I wish you a big ring on the finger in the near future.

“Hail to the Eagles, baby.”