Updated at 3:52 p.m. EST on Thursday, June 7
Longtime Eagles executive Joe Banner will no longer be club president, the club announced Thursday.
Club COO Don Smolenski will replace Banner, the team said.
Banner will now be a strategic advisor to owner Jeffrey Lurie, the club said.
Said Banner, according to the club: "It has been my privilege to work with Jeffrey Lurie over all these years. Together we have built a talented front office team that is now ready to assume leadership of this extraordinary franchise. I plan to pursue a major new opportunity within the sports field — one that will enable me to apply all that I have learned as the Eagles president. I could never thank Jeff enough for the opportunity and support he has afforded me."
"There is no better executive in sports than Joe Banner," Lurie said, according to the team's website. "We are making this announcement today because he is looking for a greater challenge, and in Don Smolenski I have a highly regarded, very worthy successor as President of this team."
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Lurie said Banner's departure wasn't a result of any dispute over power with head coach Andy Reid and GM Howie Roseman.
"No, the opposite," Lurie said, according to the Inquirer. "It was all done, I think, for what's best for everybody involved.
Banner, who had been an Eagles executive for more than 18 years, had been club president since 2001. According to the Inquirer, Smolenski will assume Banner's responsibilities for day-to-day operations of the club, while Roseman will negotiate contracts and manage the salary cap.
The way we see it
There have been rumors of a power struggle in Philadelphia for a while now, and Banner had decided in recent months that he wanted to leave the organization. Whether those two things are connected, partially or completely, is not known. Don’t be surprised to see Banner emerge as part of another ownership group in the NFL, perhaps with an L.A.-based team.
As for the Eagles, this move gives Reid and Roseman many of Banner’s duties as they relate to contracts and negotiations. But Reid remains in less than an iron-clad position, in need of a strong season to defend Lurie’s decision to retain the head coach after one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory.