Now this is a funky story.
To start off the post, there was the report from Chris Mortensen the other day, alleging that Jeffrey Lurie wants Howie Roseman and his guys to do whatever they can to help Jalen Hurts succeed in 2021. It was a big talker at the time, because it reignited the conversation surrounding the Eagles owner and how much influence he has in player-personnel decision making.
Fast forward to Tuesday, on The Middle, with Eytan Shander, Harry Mayes, and Barrett Brooks, who played for the Birds during the Ray Rhodes era. Joining the show was John McMullen, who passed on some information from retired writer Mark Eckel, alleging that Lurie has been meddling in affairs for a long time now.
That resulted in Brooks then sharing this story, written up by Eytan over at PhillyVoice:
BARRETT BROOKS: “You know what? You’re absolutely right! I can remember when I was playing with the Eagles, and it was Ray Rhodes who was the head coach. We were walking down the steps at seven o’clock in the morning going to practice — I was going to get in the steam room after another bout with pineapple vodka — but I’m walking down the steps with Ray Rhodes. As I’m walking down those steps, one of our tight ends, Jimmy Johnson, was walking up the steps. As he’s walking up the steps, I’m like, ‘Jimmy, what’s up, man?’ and he’s cussing and then he turns to Ray and Ray’s like, ‘What’s going on Jimmy?’ He said, ‘What do you mean what’s going on with me? You just cut me.’ And Ray was like, ‘Wait, wait, wait. What do you mean I just cut you?'[And Johnson said,] ‘Yeah, you just cut me.'”
JASON MYRTETUS: “What? Lurie did it?”
BROOKS: “I promise you, he said ‘Come down the steps and let’s talk about this.’ Well, they were actually listening to — this was the rumor that was going on in the locker room at the time — they were actually listening to WIP and making decisions off WIP. I was like, that can’t be true. But they ended up giving a contract to the tight end from BYU [Chad Lewis].”
So what we have here is this:
Eagles players, circa 1996, believed that Jeffrey Lurie was listening to 610 WIP and making decisions that were influenced by the opinions of radio hosts and fan callers. There’s obviously no hard proof, and short of Lurie copping to this, we can never prove it.
But would it surprise you? WIP was HUGE back then, and still is. People always say they don’t “read the newspaper” or “listen to the radio,” but that’s usually bullshit. When someone goes out of their way to say that, it usually means they are Googling their name on a daily basis, or cutting out snippets and posting them on the bulletin board.
Back then, WIP’s lineup was Angelo in the mornings, then it was Mac and Mac, Steve Fredericks and Mikey Miss in the afternoons, and then I think The King was on from 6 to 9. That timeline is foggy. Howard did afternoon drive, then nights, and then I think he went back to PM drive, but I could be wrong. Anyway, the point is that I would not advise any owner to take player personnel advice from sports radio callers, or Crossing Broad commenters, or Twitter trolls, or anything of the sort. Emotionally-charged mediums that give a platform to non-experts should not be the basis of any opinion forming.
Interesting topic though, the idea of Lurie’s involvement. We don’t think as much of this as, say, Jerry Jones, since Jerruh is always out in front of the media, fumbling around. BUT – maybe Jeffrey Lurie has been more involved behind the scenes than any of us realize. It’s a hard thing to nail down.
Here’s the video, with more of the exchange: