- Associated Press - Monday, December 31, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — Andy Reid’s worst coaching season with the Philadelphia Eagles ended Monday after 14 years when he was fired by owner Jeffrey Lurie, who said it was time “to move in a new direction.”

The dismissal came one day after Reid and the Eagles were humiliated 42-7 by the New York Giants and ended their season at 4-12.

“When you have a season like that, it’s embarrassing. It’s personally crushing to me and it’s terrible,” Lurie said at a news conference at the team’s training facility.

He called Reid “not only an outstanding coach, but an outstanding person.”

“He didn’t share himself with the press because he wanted to protect his players and the way he coaches,” Lurie said. “Having worked with him 14 years, he’s a gem of a person. This man was amazing to work with, smart and dedicated himself.”

Reid met with his players afterward and was sent off with a standing ovation.

“Not only an outstanding coach, but an outstanding person,” Lurie said. “He didn’t share himself with the press because he wanted to protect his players and the way he coaches. Having worked with him 14 years, he’s a gem of a person. This man was amazing to work with, smart and dedicated himself.”

“It’s unfortunate. I feel we personally let him down,” wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. “It’s a sad day.”

Added rookie quarterback Nick Foles: “It’s up to the players to make the plays.”

Reid took over a 3-13 team in 1999, drafted Donovan McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick and quickly turned the franchise into a title contender.

He is the winningest coach in club history and led them to a run of four straight NFC championship games, a streak that ended with a Super Bowl trip after the 2004 season — and a loss, 24-21, to the New England Patriots. The Eagles were seeking their first NFL title since 1960.

Reid cemented Philadelphia as a destination football town and led the team to an unmatched level of success. But the team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2008 and after last season’s 8-8 finish, Lurie said he was looking for improvement this year.

Instead, it was worse.

“I look forward to the day when everyone welcomes him back into the Eagles Hall of Fame because that’s inevitable,” Lurie said.

Reid grew up in Southern California and may welcome a return home. He already has said he wants to coach next season.

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