HomeDa Birds NewsDarius Slay Acknowledges Difficulty of Coaching Change: 'It's Like Managing Two Marriages!'

Darius Slay Acknowledges Difficulty of Coaching Change: ‘It’s Like Managing Two Marriages!’

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PHILADELPHIA – He lay on the playing field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa telling himself, ‘Don’t get on the cart.’ Then he stood up, or at least tried to do so.

“It was like the worst pain I ever felt in my life,” he said. “And I just couldn’t stand straight up … I couldn’t bend over. (Trainers) are like, ‘Slay, you gotta sit back down.’ I felt like a big shock, a lot of stuff going on.

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“I was crying because I was hurting. And I was crying because ‘I know, on that group chat (with some friends and former teammates), they’re gonna say I’m soft (for getting on the cart).’”

It looked grim for Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay when he got knocked down late in last week’s playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Afterward, sitting outside the locker room wearing looks of concern were his wife and mom.

Darius Slay
Darius Slay talks about the season during the Philadelphia Eagles’ clean-out day on Jan. 17, 2024. Ed Kracz SI Eagles Today

Slay got good news. It wasn’t as serious as it first felt. The prognosis is that he won’t be able to do much for the next month, but there is nothing much to do at this point of the offseason except enjoy his family and relax.

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“It was a relief for me,” said Slay. “(Bleep), I’m already in Year 11. If I was hurt any worse, I’m probably (hanging) it up, calling it a day. But everything came out great, good news.”

It probably is for the Eagles, too, as they look to improve a secondary that had too many moving parts and finished next to last in the league in pass defense, a far cry from their No. 1 standing a year ago when they gave up 50 fewer yards per game in the air than it did last year.

Slay and James Bradberry were brought back from that 2022 defense while the Eagles let safeties Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps slip away in free agency.

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Slay and Bradberry both were given contracts by general manager Howie Roseman that will be challenging to get out from under.

Perhaps they both return, though Bradberry didn’t seem really certain of that in a postgame interview. He wasn’t available in the locker room on Wednesday’s clean-out day.

“We don’t know what holds for next year,” said Bradberry when asked if he is confident he and the team can turn things around next season. “We don’t know who’s going to be here, who’s not going to be here. Of course, we didn’t live up to expectations, and we had a lot of expectations going into this year.

“Whenever you don’t live up to those, of course people want to make changes. And so, that’s why I don’t have thoughts right now. I just want to enjoy my offseason and whatever happens, happens.”

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The Eagles could move on from Bradberry or choose to bring him back.

There will be a new defensive coordinator and maybe that will help.

Slay admitted that the late-season change from Sean Desai to Matt Patricia made for a difficult adjustment.

“Trying to find two identities of (two) coaches is tough,” he said. “That’s like having two marriages. You know how hard two marriages would probably be to a household? Two personalities of two women? That’s tough. No offense to the women.

“That’s crazy tough. One might want her feet rubbed. One might want her shoulders rubbed.”

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