Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie spoke with a group of local reporters Monday afternoon at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, the site of the NFL Owners Meetings. Among the numerous topics Lurie touched on included the possibility of a Super Bowl in Philadelphia and the trip to visit former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith for a private pre-draft workout.
- Next year, the Super Bowl will be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. It is the first time that a city in the Northeast section of the country will play host to the NFL's championship game. The chances of winter weather playing a factor significantly increase playing in an open-air stadium. If the New York-New Jersey Super Bowl is a success, Lurie said that he will bid for Philadelphia to host the title tilt in the future.
"I will. Yes, I will. If it's a success. New York will help us," Lurie told Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Philadelphia is the nation's fifth-largest city in terms of population, according to the U.S. Census in 2010. Since 2001, Philadelphia has played host to the championships in each of the other three major professional sports as well as a number of NCAA championship events.
A state-of-the-art facility, Lincoln Financial Field was one of the stadiums included in the United States' bid to host a future World Cup back in 2010. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has previously said that the playing facility is just one of the factors that determines which city will host the Super Bowl along with hotel accommodations and other infrastructure.
- Lurie confirmed the report that he was one of the Eagles' representatives who was present for the team's private workout of Geno Smith, who is considered by most draft experts to be the top quarterback available this year. The Eagles have the No. 4 overall pick. It's the highest pick since the Eagles selected No. 2 overall back in 1999. Of course, the Eagles selected quarterback Donovan McNabb with that pick. Lurie said that the last time he went to a private workout was to see McNabb.
"It’s a common thing when it’s an important decision," Lurie told Tim McManus of Birds 24/7. "We haven't had a high draft pick for 14 years, and I think it's true with anybody that we're going to look at that you want to have all the information you can. It's a very important decision for us if we stay at No. 4 there."
What does that mean for second-year quarterback Nick Foles, who showed a lot of promise in his rookie campaign?
"I think it's to be determined but Nick showed an awful lot before he broke his hand," Lurie said. "Poise and accuracy. We're real excited about Nick. I think the best thing is to say to be determined how it's going to work, but he's going to have a great opportunity. He's really bright, he's a very hard worker, he has all the intangibles. We just have to see how he can maximize it or not."
- Lurie also explained the team's decision to move Training Camp to Philadelphia. On Friday, the Eagles announced that they would join 20 other teams in hosting Training Camp at its own facility this year. It will be the first time since 1943 that the Eagles will have Training Camp in Philadelphia. Training Camp had been hosted at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. since 1996.
"We had a wonderful experience with Lehigh. They were fantastic. I loved the fan engagement there," Lurie said of the team's 17-year relationship with the region. "I think with NovaCare being one of the top facilities — teams are really tending towards bringing it all to their home facility, and finding ways as (president) Don (Smolenski) has done to really have some great fan engagement during that process in the stadium. It's bringing it into the city, which we haven't done for a while, and that's exciting, too. Real exciting.
"It's interesting when we interviewed coaches, we asked every coach what would they prefer because we tend to differ to the coach on this. And it was unanimous that every coach we interviewed I think that they wanted training camp, if you have a great facility, to be seamless with the facility the players are going to be training in year round."
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