Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had his nah-nah-nah-nah-nah moment when he hired Chip Kelly on Wednesday. The Eagles coaching search was supposed to be in shambles. Sources intimated to CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora that Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was "drunk with power" and "woefully out of his depth." The belief in Philly is that former Eagles team president and current Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner is responsible for the sentiments.
"I'm very supportive of Howie, and if there's any criticism coming from afar about Howie, it's just off-base, and so I will support Howie completely, because that's not right," Lurie told CSNPhilly.com columnist Reuben Frank. "And, you know, if there are league sources that are really based in Cleveland, that's not right. We see throughout it all."
The Lurie-Roseman-Banner beef stems from a longtime, tight relationship. Lurie hired Banner as his top executive when he bought the team in 1994 and the two worked together for 19 years, including the Eagles' most successful stretch in franchise history. Roseman came up under Banner and eventually surpassed his mentor. Banner left for Cleveland and both organizations went after Kelly. The Browns hired Rob Chudzinski.
Banner felt the need to clear his name.
"It is always difficult to comment on a quote that may or may not be accurate or in context," Banner said in a statement released by the team. "In this case, from the comments which Jeffrey made that were communicated to me, it is necessary for me to make this clear, unambiguous statement. Any implication that I had anything to do with Jason La Canfora's story is completely false, outrageous and borders on libelous.
"I had absolutely no conversation with Jason La Canfora. Having demonstrated my character over the last 44 years to Jeffrey and the last 14 to Howie, it is beyond disappointing that they would suggest such a thing. As tempting as it is to go further, other than defending myself, I will continue to take the high road on all such matters as I have since the day I left the Eagles."
Yes, I do believe that's our first public accusation of libel in 2013.
Lurie expects he and Banner to make nice and save the relationship. And none of this really matters when it comes down to what happens on the field. But who's not entertained by the high-school-type squabbling between NFL owners and executives?
UPDATE: Banner was asked about the reports that he criticized Roseman during Friday's news conference to introduce Michael Lombardi as the team's Vice President of Player Personnel.
"It's just unfortunate and untrue," Banner said. "Beyond that, like Jimmy just said, we've got a big job to do here. It's taking every minute of every day and every piece of energy I have and that's what I'm focused on."