Mon. Oct 3rd, 2022

Duce Staley has emerged as the star of “Hard Knocks” over the past few weeks, showcasing the same passion as a coach as he did when he was a running back with the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. From challenging Aaron Glenn’s defense to losing his vocal cords yelling at his players to get the most out of them, Staley has become must-see TV in the hit HBO summer series.  

Staley has always carried that passionate personality with him, yet he won’t use his “Hard Knocks” fame to capitalize on his own coaching career. He’s been for his players first, which is why he’s risen up the coaching ladder — just a hire away from being a head coach himself.

“It’s just me. It’s how I coach. Passion about this game, I love this game,” Staley said this week. “So, if those cameras were not there, that’s where I would be. And it’s good that I guess the fans and everybody that — of course Detroit fans and you guys — get a chance to see us in that light, so it’s cool.”

Staley was a running back with the Eagles from 1997 to 2003 before spending the final three seasons of his career with the Steelers. A former third-round pick, Staley combined for 7,305 yards from scrimmage (4,807 rushing, 2,498 receiving) and 32 touchdowns in his seven seasons with the Eagles. He had three 1,000-yard seasons with the franchise, tied for second-most on the Eagles since a 16-game season was implemented in 1978. In his 10-year career, Staley finished with 5,785 rushing yards and 8,372 yards from scrimmage. 

Staley has spent more than a decade rising up the coaching ranks. He was hired as the Eagles’ running backs coach by Chip Kelly in 2013 after being hired by Andy Reid in 2011 as a special teams quality control coach. Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson retained Staley as running backs coach and promoted him to assistant head coach after the Eagles won the Super Bowl. Staley ran the team for a brief period while Pederson was out with COVID-19 in August of 2020. Staley left Philadelphia after the 2020 season and was hired by Lions head coach Dan Campbell as assistant head coach in 2021. 

The Lions assistant head coach relives his playing days through his players, pushing them to succeed in a game that means a great deal to him. Staley isn’t trying to build his resume through “Hard Knocks,” and he doesn’t care about the opportunities it can create for his career. 

“I’m here for them to make sure they get better. I live vicariously through them,” Staley said. “I still love this game. I’ve still got that small burning lantern inside of me that I wish I could play, but I’ve got to play through them, and what you see is what you get.”





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