Former Eagles' player and Running Backs coach Duce Staley wrote a heartfelt letter to fans and the city of Philadelphia following the announcement that he would join the Detroit Lions' coaching staff.
“I want to thank all of you for welcoming me and allowing me to be part of your family for 7 years as a player and 11 years as a coach,” Staley wrote in a letter that was posted by NBC Sports Philadelphia on Thursday. “Playing for and working for the Philadelphia Eagles and our fans has been the honor of my lifetime. I still remember like it was yesterday getting drafted and coming here in 1997 and playing for Ray Rhodes and then Andy Reid.”
Staley then reflected on his career as a player, which included both highs (the Pickle juice game against the Cowboys in 2000) and lows (breaking his foot in the fifth game of that same season.)
“At that point the Lisfranc injury was considered career threatening,” he wrote. “But as I started the rehab process I knew the chants of Duuuuucccceeee that would play in my head would power me to a full recovery.”
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Staley then talked about the four consecutive NFC Championship games the team reached, including the one in 2002 in which he scored a 20-yard touchdown in the final game at Veterans Stadium.
“I thought I would get my first ring. Unfortunately, we all remember how that game ended,” he wrote. “More disappointments would follow, but it would only make us stronger. That’s what I always loved about this city. We are tough and we are resilient and we want to work hard for everything that comes our way.”
Staley then wrote about his career on the Eagles coaching staff, which began in 2010 and included the team’s Super Bowl victory in 2017.
“I will never be more proud than helping an outstanding group of men and an outstanding organization of men and women bring our city our first ever Lombardi Trophy,” he wrote.
Staley thanked both former players and coaches in the letter, including Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson, Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb. Staley also shouted out the Eagles players he coached.
“I loved every minute coaching all of our players, including my running backs from future Hall of Famers LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles to Ryan Mathews to Super Bowl champions Jay Ajayi, LeGarrett Blount, Kenjon Barner, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood,” he wrote. “More recently I have loved coaching Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, who I hope will bring this city another Super Bowl. If I start naming our other great players this letter will get very long, but I do want to thank DeSean Jackson, the best deep threat ever, and Jason Peters, the best left tackle of all time.”
Staley ended the letter by addressing the fans and the city of Philadelphia.
“While you know I will give my all to every team I have the pleasure to work for, you should also know I consider myself an Eagle for life,” he wrote. “Best wishes to the best sports city of all time and never forget what we accomplished together. The grit and character of this city will allow you to accomplish even more going forward.”