Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith became the latest candidate Tuesday to fill the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coaching vacancy.
The Eagles will interview Smith on Thursday in their quest to find Andy Reid’s successor. Reid, who was the Eagles’ coach for the last 14 seasons, was fired last week and subsequently hired by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Smith’s nine-year tenure with the Bears surprisingly ended last week. He was fired despite going 10-6 and barely missing the playoffs. Smith, 54, earned an 81-63 record and guided the Bears to three NFC North titles, two NFC championship game appearances and one berth in the Super Bowl in the 2006 season.
In addition, the Eagles are also scheduled to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley this week. They have received permission to talk to Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden but have not yet set up a meeting.
The Eagles already have talked to Atlanta special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, as well as Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
“It’s flattering when someone wants to talk with you,” Nolan said. “Philadelphia is a great organization. They have a tremendous owner, much like we do here.
“I think whoever ends up with that job is going to do a good job and also appreciate the fact that is a great organization.
“They don’t change coaches very often. It’s been 14 years since they changed the last time, and that’s a credit to their entire organization — not just to Andy, who I think is a hell of a coach — but it’s a real credit to them.
“Like I said, for someone it’s going to be a great opportunity to be with a great organization, great owner and all those good things. Hopefully we’re still playing, so, we’ll just keep on playing.”
The Eagles reportedly spoke to Universithy of Oregon coach Chip Kelly and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, but both opted to stay in college.
Another candidate, former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone, was just hired by Buffalo.
Smith interviewed with the Bills last week and has also been linked to openings in San Diego and Arizona. The Bears are also scheduled to talk with Arians this week and already have interviewed Armstrong and McCoy.
Extra points: The Eagles signed wide receivers Nick Miller and DeMarco Sampson to two-year contracts Tuesday.
Miller played in 17 combined NFL games with Oakland (2009-11) and St. Louis (2011). He has four career catches for 48 yards and an 88-yard touchdown on a punt return for the Rams. He was out of the league this season after getting cut by the Rams during the offseason.
Sampson had three receptions for 36 yards in 12 games as a rookie with Arizona in 2011. He did not play this season after getting released by the Cardinals at the end of the preseason.
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(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)