Chip Kelly chose the Philadelphia Eagles over returning to the University of Oregon, and the coach said he couldn’t be happier with the decision. But he’s not ready to make any big commitments on offense yet.
Fans lined up outside the Eagles’ practice facility on Kelly’s first day as a head coach, holding signs and honking horns to welcome Kelly. ESPN NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio said he’s never seen such a high level of excitement in the city.
The Eagles were able to coax Chip Kelly away from the Ducks after what appeared to be a stalled foray into NFL job openings. Kelly got a look from the Cleveland Browns, with reports saying that he was set to join the Browns staff, but talks fizzled and Kelly said he would be returning to Oregon.
In his first interviews as Eagles coach, Kelly said he’s excited to get started.
“It’s a really exciting time for me. It was a difficult decision. There’s not many opportunities to coach in the National Football League, and every one of them is special,” Kelly said. “But this is an iconic franchise with an outstanding owner. I knew what this place was all about, and this is where I wanted to be.
“It was just a matter of figuring out how to do it the right way.”
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said it was worth the wait to land Chip Kelly.
“The key was to find the right leader, not make the fastest decision. We really were able to circle back with Coach Chip Kelly. We had an outstanding interview with him on Jan. 5. It was an outstanding nine hours, we learned a lot. We were told, the same day, that it was really a question of going to the Eagles or going back to Oregon. At that point, we learned he might go back to the University of Oregon, but we kept in touch.”
Chip Kelly added that he’s not ready to choose between quaterbacks Nick Foles and Michael Vick, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. And despite gaining fame for his wide-open, fast-paced offense in Oregon, Kelly said he’s not married to any particular style.