Sam Bradford endorses Pat Shurmur for Eagles' permanent job

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sam Bradford's decision to stay with the Philadelphia Eagles will be influenced by whether owner Jeff Lurie retains interim head coach Pat Shurmur for the permanent position, the soon-to-be free agent quarterback said Sunday.

Lurie must hire a new head coach to replace Chip Kelly, who traded for Bradford during the offseason.

"The quarterback-head coach relationship is extremely important in any organization," Bradford said. "Given the history I have with Pat -- we were together my rookie year [in St. Louis] and reunited this year -- I think it would mean a lot to me. I would love to play for him. I really enjoyed playing for him today. If he is a candidate, I hope that he gets serious consideration."

Shurmur, 50, was the Rams' offensive coordinator when Bradford was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft. After Bradford's rookie season, Shurmur became head coach of the Cleveland Browns. By the time the Eagles acquired Bradford in exchange for quarterback Nick Foles, Shurmur was in Philadelphia as Kelly's offensive coordinator.

When Kelly was fired Tuesday, Lurie asked Shurmur to coach the season finale against the Giants.

"He wasn't in an easy position today," Bradford said. "What he did this week, the way he led this football team, was remarkable, really. I don't think anybody wants to be put in that position. He did a great job. I think he called a great game today. I think the guys really bought into it this week."

Shurmur replaced Kelly as the coach calling plays from the sideline. He allowed Bradford more leeway in terms of audibles out of plays and into more advantageous calls.

"He was calling plays," Bradford said. "He was in my ear, and he was the one I was talking to when I came to the sideline. It reminded me a lot of my rookie year. It brought back some good memories."

Under Kelly, the no-huddle offense's tempo trumped the quarterback's ability to change plays based on the defense's alignment.

"We audibled throughout," Shurmur said. "We wanted to get lined up, and we have a handful of plays, and then we tried to get into the best one. ... The one thing that's important is that we have a quarterback that's extremely smart. We trust him, and so you don't have to be a play behind with Sam because he can get you in the right stuff."

Bradford, 28, is in the final year of the six-year, $78 million contract he signed with the Rams as a rookie. The Eagles could use their franchise tag to keep him off the market, but the $20- to $25-million cost would be prohibitive. The two sides could work out a long-term contract, unless Bradford doesn't feel he'd fit with a new coach.

Shurmur said he planned to talk to Lurie "in the near future" about the head-coaching job. Lurie has already interviewed running backs coach Duce Staley.

ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen reports the Eagles will interview Shurmur on Monday and Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase on Tuesday.

Other candidates are expected to include offensive coordinators Josh McDaniels of New England and Doug Pederson of Kansas City, plus Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

If the Eagles are hoping to sign Bradford to a new deal, they can help themselves by retaining Shurmur.

"You want to play for a guy who's going to be there for you," Bradford said. "He's going to lead you. He's going to inspire you. Someone that the guys in the locker room can really rally around. Fortunately, I don't have to make those decisions. Those are way above me. Mr. Lurie, I'm sure, will do a great job."