Chip Kelly Goes to Philly
Charles E. Sutton | 1/22/2013, 12:37 p.m.
Once the dust settled, Chip Kelly chose to be the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles hired Kelly on Wednesday, just 10 days after he verbally committed to stay at Oregon. The 49-year-old Kelly, known for his innovative offensive schemes, becomes the 21st coach in Eagles' history and replaces Andy Reid, who was fired on December 31 after a 4-12 season.
He was introduced at a news conference Thursday at the Eagles' practice facility.
In four years at Oregon, Kelly was 46-7. He interviewed with the Eagles, Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns over a two-day period after leading the fast-flying No. 2 Ducks to a win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on January 3rd.
The Eagles interviewed 11 candidates, including two meetings with Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. All along, Kelly was thought to be Philadelphia's top choice in an exhaustive, long process that took many different turns.
"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 of Reid's firing, Lurie seemed to be describing Kelly when he indicated that he wanted to find a "real smart, forward thinking coach" who is "strategic, a strong leader, very comfortable in his own skin."
Kelly reportedly was close to signing with the Browns following a long interview on January 4th. The next day, he met with the Eagles for nine hours, setting the stage for a scenario in which the Eagles were competing with Browns CEO Joe Banner.
But Kelly opted to stay in Eugene, Oregon, putting an end to the roller coaster. At the time, it was the second consecutive year Kelly had entertained interest from NFL teams only to turn them down. He rejected Tampa Bay's offer deep into negotiations last season.
"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."