Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 5:03 PM
PHILADELPHIA — 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.
Reid met with his players afterward and was sent off with a standing ovation.
“It’s unfortunate. I feel we personally let him down,” wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. “It’s a sad day.”
Added rookie quarterback Nick Foles: “It’s up to the players to make the plays.”
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. The Eagles were seeking their first NFL title since 1960.
Still, Reid cemented Philadelphia as a football town 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 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.”
In 2009, Reid and Lurie gave Michael Vick a second chance in the NFL after the former star quarterback spent 18 months in federal prison related to a dogfighting operation. Vick took over as the starter in 2010, had a remarkable season and led the Eagles to the NFC East title. But like rest of the team, Vick regressed the last two seasons.
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.. Reid grew up in Southern California and may welcome a return home. He already has said he wants to coach next season.
Aside from team troubles, the year was a painful one 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.”
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston contributed to this report.
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