Kelly changes course, hired to coach Eagles
In the end, Chip Kelly chose the NFL, giving the Eagles their guy. Philadelphia hired Kelly on Wednesday, just 10 days after he decided...
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.
Kelly will be introduced at a news conference Thursday.
Kelly, 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 on Jan. 3.
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.
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 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 in Eugene. "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."
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.