Ted Rath

Eagles Hire Darren Sproles, Brent Celek For Personnel Roles

The Eagles added former pass-rusher Connor Barwin to their front office last month, and now they’re adding two other high profile former players. Philadelphia is hiring former running back Darren Sproles and former tight end Brent Celek, according to Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Bowen adds that they both got the title of personnel consultant. Sproles announced back in December that he’d be retiring after the year. The legendary pass-catching back spent the last six seasons of his career with the Eagles, and finished his career fifth all-time in all-purpose yards. Celek was an Eagle all the way through, spending all 11 seasons of his pro career in Philly from 2007-17. He retired after winning Super Bowl LII with the team.

The Eagles also made some other staffing moves, hiring strength and conditioning coach Ted Rath away from the Rams to be their new director of sports performance. Rath gained some fame as Sean McVay’s ‘get-back’ coach, and was later charged with sexual battery before being acquitted. A source told Bowen that the team did their due diligence, and felt comfortable with Rath’s explanation and acquittal.

Philly also promoted exec Jeremiah Washburn to the role of player personnel director. Interestingly, he’ll also serve in a coaching role as a “senior defensive assistant.” As Bowen points out, it’s a bit of an unusual arrangement for someone to have a scouting and coaching role at the same time. They also rounded out their offensive coaching staff, hiring Aaron Moorehead as receivers coach. He previously had been the receivers coach at Vanderbilt. The Eagles announced yesterday they wouldn’t hire an offensive coordinator.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Gould, Gordon, Cards, Rams

Robbie Gould said this week he and the 49ers have been negotiating a contract for well over a year. Unless the sides can come to terms by Monday’s deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions, he will be tethered to the 49ers at the current kicker tag rate of $5MM. He has requested a trade and been mulling a holdout.

We’ve been negotiating for 17 months and it’s been a complicated situation,” Gould said, via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Josh Schrock. “I’m at the point where my agent is going to handle it. If there’s anything I need to know about, then I’ll make a decision.”

The 36-year-old kicker has hit 72 of 75 field goal tries since joining the 49ers in 2017. The trade request Gould made led many to believe he wanted to return to Chicago, where his family resides. But the 15th-year specialist clarified that seeking a spot closer to his family does not necessarily mean solely seeking a Bears reunion. Though, the dot-connecting between Gould the kicker-starved Bears — for whom he played from 2005-15 — is rather easy.

I never said I want to go back there,” Gould said. “I just said I want to be closer to my family. That doesn’t necessarily mean (the Bears).”

Shifting to some non-kicker news, here is the latest from the West divisions:

  • Melvin Gordon‘s attempt to secure a new contract brought the Chargers into the news this week. But the team is not yet willing to publicly engage with the disgruntled running back. “We don’t publicly discuss contract negotiations,” the team said in a message sent to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Gordon is set to make $5.6MM on the fifth-year option this season; that figure is nearly $4MM less than Ezekiel Elliott would make on his 2020 option. The 26-year-old back has issued a pay-me-or-trade-me ultimatum and threatened a regular-season holdout.
  • Rams strength and conditioning coach Ted Rath was found not guilty on three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery, a Ventura, Calif., jury ruled Friday, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets. This alleged incident occurred in 2018. Rath, 35, is in his second season as a Rams assistant; he was placed on leave earlier this year.
  • Larry Fitzgerald‘s late-career move to the slot led to an uptick in his reception counts, with the Cardinals’ future Hall of Famer eclipsing 100 catches for three straight seasons from 2017-19. Kliff Kingsbury said the soon-to-be 36-year-old receiver has shown an early chemistry with Kyler Murray and will be moved to different places in formations this season, per Bob McManamon of the Arizona Republic. In a 2018 season that saw the Cardinals rank last in points and total yards, Fitzgerald posted a career-low 734 yards.
  • In the same piece, McManamon lists third-year wideout Chad Williams as being on the Cards’ roster bubble. With the team drafting three receivers to join Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and UFA addition Kevin White, the former Bruce Arians-era third-round pick (20 career catches for 202 yards and one touchdown) may be battling uphill to keep his roster spot.

Coaching Notes: Bills, Bucs, Jags, Texans

The Bills have made a groundbreaking hire, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, as they’ve named Kathryn Smith a special teams quality control coach. Smith is the NFL’s first-ever full-time female assistant coach. She previously served in lesser roles under Rex Ryan with both the Jets and Bills.

Regarding Smith’s hiring, Ryan said, “She has proven that she’s ready for the next step, so I’m excited and proud for her” (Twitter link via The Buffalo News’ Tyler Dunne).

Other coaching news from around the NFL . . .

  • New Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter will call the team’s offensive plays, but he still plans to hire an O-coordinator (Twitter link via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times).
  • The Jaguars expect to have a defensive coordinator in place by Monday, tweets Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. The front-runner for the job is defensive line coach Todd Wash, per O’Halloran (Twitter link). As PFR’s Coordinator Tracker shows, Jacksonville has also shown interest in some currently available outside candidates, having interviewed Jerome Henderson, Marquand Manuel and Lou Anarumo for the job.
  • In other Jaguars news, assistant coach coach Doug Marrone will return for a second season with the club, per O’Halloran. Marrone interviewed for four different head coaching vacancies in recent weeks, but those teams hired other candidates.
  • Paul Pasqualoni has stepped down as the Texans’ defensive line coach after just one season because of family reasons, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (on Twitter). Anthony Weaver, who coached Cleveland’s D-line the past two seasons, could take Pasqualoni’s spot.
  • The Colts have named Greg Williams their secondary coach, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Williams was San Diego’s assistant secondary coach the previous three seasons.
  • With Terry Robiskie on his way to Tennessee, the Falcons’ wide receivers coach position is open. Atlanta will likely promote offensive assistant Mike McDaniel to take Robiskie’s place, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McDaniel previously coached wideouts in Washington (2013) and Cleveland (2014).
  • Changes are coming to the Lions’ strength and conditioning staff, as the club has fired coordinator of physical development Jason Arapoff and assistant strength coach Ted Rath, writes Tim Twentyman of the team’s website.