The Eagles were Buddy’s Boys, and now Buddy Ryan was gone, fired.
And boy, were they angry.
Tight end Keith Jackson called Tuesday’s firing by owner Norman Braman “stupid.”
“He let a great guy in Buddy Ryan go,” Jackson said. “You usually reward people who take a team to the playoffs three years in a row.”
“I don’t think Mr. Braman made the right decision,” said defensive end Reggie White. " . . . Buddy was not to blame for us losing, and he was not to blame for us playing bad during the season. Mr. Braman made the move just because he wanted a little more control.”
White said, “It was a personality clash between Buddy and Norman more than anything else.”
The prompt hiring of offensive coordinator Rich Kotite as head coach may help heal the hurt, players said.
“It was definitely a good move,” defensive tackle Mike Golic said. “I’m glad he did it quick. It was smart thinking, going with somebody here. Now, we can get back to business as soon as possible.”
But Jackson said he would prefer to play somewhere else.
“I’m going to call my agent and we’re going to weigh our options,” Jackson said, adding that if the Eagles don’t release him, “I’ll cause a lot of trouble and try to get out of here.”
Players had publicly lobbied Braman to keep Ryan before the firing.
“There’s a lot of guys on this team right now that are disgruntled and upset,” White said. “What happened could cause you to lose faith in the organization.”
Linebacker Seth Joyner said, “It seems to me Norman’s looking for instant success. It’s not going to happen that way.”
Quarterback Randall Cunningham, yanked by Ryan for a series during Saturday’s 20-6 playoff loss to Washington, was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.
Defensive tackle Mike Pitts said he’d leave the Eagles to play for Ryan.
“It’d be great to play for Buddy. Buddy’s a great guy,” Pitts said.
But Pitts also said he believed Ryan had paid for the players’ failure to produce results on the field.
“We’ve got to go out with the attitude to win big games,” he said. “The guys can cry about what happened, but in the end we let Buddy down.”