On Monday, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora did a hatchet job on Eagles GM Howie Roseman. He wrote that Roseman was "drunk with power" and "woefully out of his depth," and to add the sheen of authority, La Canfora cloaked it in "a growing perception around the league."
At the time, the Browns and Eagles had engaged in a high-profile tug-of-war for Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who had at different times reportedly been close to taking both jobs. Kelly turned down Cleveland last week after being wined and dined by the Eagles. He then supposedly turned down Philadelphia, but as we now know, negotiations were still ongoing. The CBS article looked like an attempt by someone to sour the Eagles' chances of landing Kelly, blasting the front office power structure and noting that an incoming coach would have limited personnel say in Philly. It was only natural to assume La Canfora's sources were coming from Cleveland.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie voiced those suspicions today to CSN Philly, pinning the quote on Joe Banner, who was Lurie's boyhood friend and second-in-command in Philadelphia for nearly two decades before leaving to become Browns CEO.
"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 said.
"And, you know, if there are league sources that are really based in Cleveland, that's not right. We see through it all."
Banner, when made aware of Lurie's accusation, released a statement categorically denying that he was the source for La Canfora's story.
"It is always difficult to comment on a quote that may or may not be accurate or in context. 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 being 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."
La Canfora has been silent on the matter this morning, other than talking up Gus Bradley, who would have been the Eagles coach had the Chip Kelly deal fallen through.