Saturday, July 12, 2014





Eagles finally land their top choice Kelly


February 20. 2013 2:27AM
Story Tools
PrintPrint | E-MailEMail | SaveSave | Hear Generate QR Code QR
Send to Kindle


PHILADELPHIA — In the end, Chip Kelly chose the NFL, giving the Eagles their guy.


Philadelphia hired Kelly on Wednesday, just 10 days after he decided to stay at Oregon. The 49-year-old Kelly, known as an offensive innovator, becomes the 21st coach in team history and replaces Andy Reid, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season.


He'll be introduced at a news conference Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Eagles' practice facility.


Kelly, who was 46-7 in four years at Oregon, interviewed with the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills in a two-day span after leading the fast-flying Ducks to a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 3.


Kelly ended a whirlwind day by boarding a plane in Eugene, Ore., headed for Philadelphia, at 3:30 p.m. When he arrived at Philadelphia International Airport, shortly after 7 p.m., he quickly saw a glimpse of what this team means to this city. Not only were general Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski waiting for him on the runway — they arrived with a police escort — there were fans, decked out in green, on hand, as well.


The Eagles are known to have interviewed 11 candidates, including two meetings with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. All along, Kelly was thought to be Philadelphia's first choice in a long, exhaustive process that took many twists.


Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles, owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh energetic approach to our team.


On the day he fired Reid, Lurie appeared to be describing Kelly when he said he wanted to find a real smart, forward-thinking coach who is strategic, a strong leader, very comfortable in his own skin.


The enigmatic Kelly reportedly was close to signing with the Browns after a long interview Jan. 4. He met with the Eagles for nine hours the next day, setting up a soap-opera scenario in which the Eagles were competing with Browns CEO Joe Banner, their former president and longtime friend of Lurie who left the organization after a falling out. But that roller coaster ended when Kelly opted to remain — temporarily — in Eugene.


It's a very difficult decision for me. It took me so long to make it just because the people here are special, Kelly told KEZI-TV. The challenge obviously is exciting for me, but it's an exciting time and it's a sad time — saying goodbye to people you love and respect, and I wanted to make sure I talked to my players and did it in the right fashion and talked to our staff. I feel I did.


The Eagles interviewed two other high-profile college coaches — Penn State's Bill O'Brien and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly. Both elected to stay with their schools.


Bradley was considered by many to be the leading contender, though former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and former Ravens coach Brian Billick were in the mix.


That all changed when Kelly had a change of heart.


The visor-wearing Kelly built Oregon into a national powerhouse. The Ducks went to four straight BCS bowl games — including a bid for the national championship against Auburn two seasons ago — and have won three conference championships.


Kelly originally went to Oregon in 2007 as offensive coordinator under Mike Bellotti. Before that, he was offensive coordinator at New Hampshire, where he started devising the innovative hurry-up offense the Ducks are known for now.


Oregon finished last season 12-1. The team was ranked No. 1 and appeared headed for another shot at the national championship until a 17-14 loss to Stanford Nov. 17.


Ducks athletic director Rob Mullens said Wednesday that Kelly called him at 7:15 a.m. PST to tell him he had changed his mind: He wasn't sure if that opportunity would present itself again, so he felt this was the right one at the right time.


Mullens now faces a coaching search amid recruiting season.


I've turned the page, Mullens said. I was surprised when I got the call this morning, but as the leader of this organization, my focus is on moving forward and that's what we're doing. I'm laser focused on what's next, and that's finding the right fit to lead Oregon football.


It's unknown whether the possibility of NCAA sanctions based on Oregon's use of recruiting services factored into Kelly's reversal. He indicated in Arizona that he isn't running from anything.


Kelly doesn't have any pro coaching experience, but aspects of his up-tempo offense are already being used by New England and Washington.


The Eagles fired Reid after two forgettable years. A late flurry brought the team to an 8-8 finish last season, but this season, Philadelphia endured an eight-game losing streak, and dropped 11 of its final 12. A 3-1 start soon washed away, and Reid's 14-year tenure ended not long after. Within a week, Reid was Kansas City's new coach.


Still, Kelly has tough shoes to fill. Reid won more games than any coach in franchise history and led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five conference championship games and one Super Bowl berth.


Kelly and the Eagles have the No. 4 overall pick in the draft as well as some talented players on offense who could fit his scheme. Running back LeSean McCoy and receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin seem like ideal matches. Quarterback Nick Foles, however, isn't.




Comments
comments powered by Disqus Commenting Guidelines
Poll
Mortgage Minute


Search for New & Used Cars

Make 
Model
 
Used New All
 

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just the home you want!

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just what you need!

Search Pet Classifieds
Dogs Cats Other Animals



Social Media/RSS
Times Leader on Twitter
Times Leader on Youtube
Times Leader on Google+
The Times Leader on Tumblr
The Times Leader on Pinterest
Times Leader RSS Feeds