Getting back in the game

This article originally appeared as part of the NFP Sunday Blitz by Dan Pompei. For the full article, click here.

When high ranking team executives are let go by their teams, many of them have a difficult time getting back in the game. It’s easy to forget that each one of those men were in that position for good reason. All anyone remembers is their team experienced some level of failure.

It’s a pity really. And that’s how the Eagles see it too.

In the past they have hired former Browns general manager Phil Savage, former Bears pro personnel director Bobby DePaul and former Saints player personnel director Rick Mueller. Savage and DePaul have moved on, but Mueller remains part of the Eagles’ evaluation team as a personnel executive.

And he was recently joined by former Bills and Steelers architect Tom Donahoe, who was named senior football advisor. It’s pretty incredible that a man who knows as much as Donahoe does has been out of the league for six years.

Why are the Eagles going where few teams have gone? “You have talented guys, they fill a role,” general manager Howie Roseman told me. “It’s a worthy thing to do for me, because Tom is someone who has had the job before and I can bounce things off of We try to get the best people around, get as many smart opinions as possible, and then make decisions.”

Roseman is 36 years old. He’s wise enough to know he doesn’t have all the answers, and that someone of Donahoe’s experience can help him.

Per Roseman, Donahoe will be a road scout, but he also will be a consigliere. He will help the Eagles front office evaluate the Eagles, as well as how they do things.

Some other deposed executives have been helpful to other teams. Among them are Floyd Reese (Patriots), Ron Hughes (Steelers), Randy Mueller (Chargers) and Bill Tobin (Bengals). Chris Polian recently was hired by the Falcons.

But for every one who gets back in it seems there are several who don’t. Among the former executives who left the NFL and could offer something to ant team include Dom Anile, Jerry Angelo, Andrew Brandt, Charley Casserly, Vinny Cerrato, DePaul, Billy Devaney, Jeff Diamond, Fran Foley, Greg Gabriel, Jim Goodwin, John Guy, Bill Kuharich, Will Lewis, Tom Modrak, Carl Peterson, Bill Polian, Tim Ruskell, Ted Sundquist and Jay Zygmunt.

Some teams would rather hire twentysomethings with little to no experience who will not challenge authority. The Eagles don’t worry about bringing in a loud voice.

“For us, it’s always been real clear,” Roseman said. “At the end of the day Andy [Reid] has final say and then you don’t worry about those guys coming on too strong. We’ve always structured it in a way where, feel free to voice your opinion but once we make picks everyone is on board with them. We’re talking about good people, guys who have been team players and just want to be part of something.”

Other teams may worry that bringing in an experienced executive could intimidate other evaluators. That’s not a concern for the Eagles either.

“It’s very important we make sure our young scouts know you don’t always have to agree with everything everyone says, but the worst thing you can do is change your opinion to one that’s not yours,” Roseman said. “We want people to have different opinions. We say a lot of times in our meeting that if everyone is agreeing, you probably are not making the right decision.”

Everyone should agree on one thing—a lot of these men could help NFL teams.

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