Tom Donahoe is back in a position of significant power in the NFL.
Donahoe, the former Buffalo Bills' general manager, was named the Philadelphia Eagles' senior director of player personnel Tuesday night as part of sweeping changes that included the firing of head coach Chip Kelly.
Donahoe has served as senior football advisor for the Eagles since 2012. It was his first job back in the NFL after being fired by founding Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. following a five-year run as general manager, from 2001-05. During that time, Donahoe was also team president, the first person other than Wilson to carry that title.
Buffalo went 31-49 during Donahoe's five seasons, with the acquisitions of offensive tackle Mike Williams and quarterback J.P. Losman with first-round draft picks serving as significant personnel blunders. In the year Losman was drafted, Donahoe attempted to trade up in the draft to select Miami of Ohio quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but was unable to do so. The Bills' hunt for a franchise quarterback has continued since that time.
Before coming to the Bills, Donahoe had more success as the director of football operations for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a job he held from 1991-99. The Steelers made six playoff appearances in those seasons, with an 84-60 record, and Donahoe drafted 12 players who made 31 Pro Bowl appearances.
Donahoe replaces Ed Marynowitz, the Eagles' vice president of player personnel. Marynowitz was hand-picked by Kelly to run the Eagles' personnel department, but it was the coach who had final say on player acquisitions. Kelly's moves in that role have been nothing short of disastrous. After consecutive 10-6 seasons to start his NFL career, the Eagles have fallen to 6-9 this season. One of those wins came against the Bills in Week 14, a damaging blow to Buffalo's playoff hopes.
Kelly traded running back LeSean McCoy to the Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso in a move that has looked one-sided in Buffalo's favor. He also released receiver DeSean Jackson, guards Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans and didn't re-sign receiver Jeremy Maclin. The decision to trade quarterback Nick Foles to St. Louis in exchange for Sam Bradford has also not panned out, nor has the signing of running back DeMarco Murray in free agency to replace McCoy.
Despite their poor record, the Eagles were not officially eliminated from playoff contention in the weak NFC East until a loss to Washington on Saturday night. Owner Jeffrey Lurie moved quickly to fire Kelly just five days before the conclusion of the regular season.