Nine days after he turned down the opportunity to become the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach, Oregon’s Chip Kelly will be named head coach of the Eagles.
Kelly will take the job after four years with the Ducks, ending a coaching search that became a marathon after Kelly’s first rejection. The Eagles, after a 4-11 season, fired Andy Reid on New Year’s Eve and announced the Kelly hiring shortly after noon.
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement released by the team. “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.”
Kelly, 46-7 and the architect of a high-octane offense with the Ducks, was the Eagles’ first choice for the job, but they weren’t the only team interested in him. He also interviewed with the Cleveland Browns shortly after Oregon’s 35-17 victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3. After a lengthy interview with the Eagles, Kelly decided to stay at Oregon. On Tuesday, USA Today’s Mike Garafolo reports, he had a change of heart and decided to head to Philly.
Kelly will attempt to bring his break-neck offense to the NFL and some of the pieces, like Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, are in place. A larger question is just who will be Kelly’s quarterback. Will the Eagles bring back Michael Vick? He seems suited to running the offense, but he’s aging and injury-prone.
And maybe Nick Foles has a future with Kelly. He has a past, with Kelly praising Foles to the skies after an Oregon-Arizona game in 2011.
“I’ll tell you what; I’m glad Nick Foles is graduating,” Kelly said after a 56-31 victory by Oregon. “I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. … Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.”
There’s always the chance that the Eagles use their No. 4 pick in the NFL draft on a quarterback like West Virginia’s Geno Smith.
On the college level, one blue-chip prospect Kelly was pursuing couldn’t hide his surprise. “Chip Kelly left?!?! He was at my house 2 days ago,” Nico Falah, a Bellflower, Calif., offensive tackle, tweeted.
Falah has committed to USC, but that isn’t permanent yet. “That’s still my dude tho!” Falah added.
Just in case Kelly has another change of heart.