Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eagles fire special teams coach Daisher; replca ehim with veteran April

The Eagles have terminated the contracts of special teams coordinator Ted Daisher, strength and conditioning coach Mike Wolf, and assistant strength and conditioning coach Jay Merlino. Daisher has already been replaced by veteran coach Bobby April.

“We appreciate the efforts and contributions of those three men," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "I have the highest regard for Ted as a special teams coach and as a person. He’s an excellent football coach and the numbers and production on the field this past year proved that.

"We just decided to go in another direction. I have no doubt Ted will land on his feet with another NFL team and do a great job. As far as Mike Wolf, he has been nothing but a professional and diligent strength coach for this franchise over the past 15 seasons. He has been a big part in the success the Eagles have had in recent years. We appreciate all the work he and Jay Merlino put in with our players to help them maximize their efforts on the field.”

April is one of the most highly-regarded special teams coaches in recent NFL history. He spent the last six seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

During his tenure in Buffalo, April guided the Bills special teams units to the number one ranking in the NFL three times, according to the intricate system compiled annually by esteemed Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin.

“Bobby April has proven himself as one of the top special teams coaches in this league,” said Reid. “I have spoken with many coaches and players who have worked with and played under Bobby directly and they have had nothing but the highest regard for him in terms as a coach and as a person. We look forward to adding him to our coaching staff and building upon the excellent job our special teams did last year.”

Under April’s tutelage, Bills punter Brian Moorman earned two Pro Bowl berths and punt returner Roscoe Parrish led the NFL with a 15.3-yard punt return average in 2008. That year, rookie kickoff returner Leodis McKelvin finished third in the NFL with a 28.2-yard average. In addition, Terrence McGee earned a Pro Bowl berth as a kick returner in 2004 under April as he set a franchise record with three kickoff returns for a touchdown. In 2005, Bills long snapper Mike Schneck joined Moorman on the AFC Pro Bowl squad. April, himself, was twice named special teams coach of the year by his peers in 2004 and 2008.

April has coached three players currently on the Eagles roster: long snapper Jon Dorenbos in 2004 with Buffalo, tackle Jason Peters, who blocked a punt for the Bills on December 19, 2004, at Cincinnati and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown, and WR Kevin Curtis, who was a rookie with the St. Louis Rams in 2003.

A veteran of 18 NFL seasons, the 56-year-old April began his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons, working as the team’s tight ends and special teams coach from 1991-93. He moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers as the special teams coordinator from 1994-95 and helped the Steelers earn a berth in Super Bowl XXX. From 1996-00, April worked with the New Orleans Saints in the same position before moving on to St. Louis from 2001-03. April began his stint in Buffalo in 2004 as the special teams coordinator before being promoted to assistant head coach/special teams prior to the 2006 season after Dick Jauron was named head coach of the Bills.

A native of New Orleans, LA, April was a four-year linebacker at Nicholls State and served as an assistant coach on the collegiate level at Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Arizona, USC and Ohio State.

No comments: