Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Losing sucks, and I don't care how much money you make. It's miserable.''

Former Charger and now Philadelphia Eagles GM Tom Heckert talks about his role with the franchise.

Rich Hofmann
Philadelphia Daily News

GM used to being heard
FOR TOM HECKERT, football was the family business. He had played at Hillsdale College in Michigan and coached there for two seasons. Next was to be an entry-level coaching job as a graduate assistant at Arizona State. In between, there were a couple of months helping his

father, the Miami Dolphins' director of college scouting, prepare for the NFL draft.

These were the Dolphins of Don Shula and Dan Marino. Heckert worked for free that spring, just to do it. It was 16 years ago.

"I was getting ready to leave, to go to Arizona State as a coach,'' Heckert said, "and I went in to talk to coach Shula

to thank him for letting me come here and work and he said, 'Would you rather stay here?' And I said, 'Yeah, but I can't do it for free.' And he said, 'Oh, no, I meant it would be full time.' And I said, 'Where do I sign?'

"For 12 thousand bucks, I was in,'' he said.

Sixteen years later, Heckert is the Eagles' general manager. His is maybe the most misunderstood job in town.

People are wondering, now that Andy Reid is on a leave of absence, if Heckert's influence is suddenly on the rise. Those people miss two points: that Heckert says he still talks to Reid at least twice a day on the phone, and that Heckert's influence has been significant all along.

He has a voice and it is heard - maybe more in recent years, he acknowledges, but it has always been heard. Why else would he have stayed when other teams came calling? Why else would the Eagles have been so insistent on keeping him, upping his title and, presumably, his salary?

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