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Graham Harrell, who already turned down one top-flight coordinator job this offseason to stay at USC, is interviewing for another big-time job, this time in the NFL.
Harrell is interviewing Friday for the Philadelphia Eagles’ vacancy at offensive coordinator, almost one month after USC announced a multi-year contract extension for its up-and-coming coordinator.
After much deliberation, the native Texan opted then to stay at USC, turning down a substantially larger offer to take the same job at Texas. His three-year extension at USC, which is set to pay him more than $1 million per year, seemed to be a major victory for a program in dire need of one.
USC coach Clay Helton heralded the school’s swift response in locking up Harrell as proof of its re-doubled commitment to the program.
Harrell confirmed at the time that he’d given serious thought to returning to his home state. But at USC, he has complete autonomy over an offense replete with young playmakers. He waxed poetic about the possibility of winning a national title. He told reporters about how much his family loved Los Angeles.
“My wife thinks she lives in paradise,” he said, “and my son, he lives with Mickey Mouse and the beach, so what’s not to like?”
Harrell, 34, has never coached at the NFL level, but spent three years, from 2010 to 2012, as the backup to quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Since 2014, when he joined Mike Leach’s staff at Washington State, Harrell has worked only in the college ranks.
His Air Raid offense could be a fascinating fit at the NFL level, were he to follow in the footsteps of Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, who left the same USC role for the NFL at this time last year.
If Harrell were to leave for the NFL, he would likely have to relinquish play-calling duties. Eagles coach Doug Pederson has been the sole play-caller in Philadelphia.
Harrell is currently the only coordinator remaining on Helton’s staff, as the Trojans’ search for a defensive coordinator and special teams coach drags into its fourth week.
On Thursday, Rams linebackers coach Joe Barry, who had been one of the top candidates to replace fired defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, removed his name from consideration for the job.