Tim McManusESPN staff writer3 minutes of reading
PHILADELPHIA — The The Eagles have hired former Detroit Lions head coach and New England Patriots assistant Matt Patricia as a senior defensive assistant, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Coach Nick Siriani said during a news conference Thursday that it’s “trending” in the direction of Patricia’s hiring.
“Obviously his resume speaks for itself. It gives you a great mindset to have done it at the highest level,” Siriani said. “It gives you a better ability to bounce ideas off the defensive staff and also gives me another former head coach that I can bounce off of things that I think will be very helpful.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick became the offensive playcaller following the departure of longtime coordinator Josh McDaniels to replace Patricia, the team’s defensive coordinator from 2012-17, to become the Las Vegas Raiders head coach in 2022. It was an unusual choice given Patricia’s premier background in the NFL. Patricia, 48, was also tasked with implementing a new offensive scheme, with Belichick naturally having significant influence.
The desired results never materialized, however, and Belichick said at the end of the Patriots’ 8-9 season: “It’s not what we wanted or needed to be.”
This prompted the Patriots to rehire Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator on January 26.
In between stints with the Patriots, Patricia served as the Lions’ head coach from 2018 to ’20, compiling a 13-29-1 record. He butted heads with former Lions and current Eagles cornerback Darius Slay during his time in Detroit.
Slay told ESPN’s Michael Rothstein in 2020 that there were several incidents that led to a rift in the relationship between him and Patricia. It really bothered him after a training camp practice. Slay posted a picture on social media of him and a receiver who caught two passes for him that day. At the start of that night’s meeting, Patricia used a social media photo with a small highlight tape of Blair on the board before speaking on Slay. Slay, then 29, said Patricia put the picture up on the team board, telling Patricia to basically stop kissing another player, though the coach used a much worse analogy.
“Yeah. Right there and then, all my respect went out to him. As a man,” Slay said.
Siriani said he spoke with Slay about adding Patricia, which was announced Thursday on the team’s website, before the sudden dismissal.
“Absolutely. Like you do with anything, you go and talk to the guys, make sure everybody’s comfortable,” Siriani said. “I’ve had conversations with Slay, I’ve had conversations with coach Patricia obviously, and when that happens I know it’s going to be a good working relationship for us.”
ESPN’s Mike Reiss contributed to this report.