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Kelly re-emerged as a candidate recently and ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported that an agreement was just reached Wednesday. The Eagles confirmed the news a short time later.
The Eagles had interviewed Kelly early in its search for a replacement for longtime coach Andy Reid, talking to the coach in Arizona after the Ducks' 35-17 Fiesta Bowl victory over Kansas State.
After that meeting, it was reported that Kelly had decided to stay at Oregon. The school never made an official announcement regarding Kelly's employment with the team, however.
According to Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio, the Eagles resumed their pursuit of Chip Kelly on the same day they interviewed Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.
A source with knowledge of the situation tells Florio the Eagles resumed contact with Chip Kelly’s agent, David Dunn, on Tuesday night, January 8.
The communications between Dunn and G.M. Howie Roseman (with owner Jeffrey Lurie involved from time to time) continued until the process accelerated within the last 30 hours.
Until very recently, the Eagles believed there was only a remote chance Chip Kelly would have a change of heart. Based on that nine-hour meeting in Scottsdale, the Eagles did not believe Kelly would leave Oregon.
Kelly apparently didn’t, either. But something he heard in the last couple of days changed that. ...
Kelly is 46-7 in four years as head coach at Oregon. The Ducks have been to four straight BCS bowl games -- including a bid for the national championship against Auburn two seasons ago -- and have won three Pac-12 championships.
He originally came to the Ducks 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 today.
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 overtime loss to Stanford on Nov. 17.
This will be Kelly’s first head coaching job in the NFL.
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” 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.”
PhiladelphiaEagles.com insider Dave Spadaro added, "Over the years, Kelly has developed an aggressive offensive strategy and system. Kelly is one of the most progressive thinkers in football today. A stronger leader with an innovative football mind was at the top of Lurie’s list when he outlined the characteristics he was seeking in a coach when he launched the search.
Under Kelly in 2012, Oregon averaged nearly 50 points per game (49.6) and his four-year scoring average with the Ducks was a whopping 44.7 points per contest.
But according to Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Zach Berman, the Eagles hired a mind, not a system.
As noted above, Lurie emphasized that the Eagles hired "a brilliant football mind." When Berman asked around about Kelly, discussion didn't center around the offensive system he ran at Oregon. It was about his mind, and how he can adapt. Kelly's teams are meant to play fast, maximize the amount of plays in a game, and identify and exploit mismatches.
Kelly might not be able to run the Oregon offense in the NFL. But the Eagles didn't hire him for the Oregon offense. They wanted Kelly's mind, which is universally praised.
And they figure he'll be able to adapt.
The big question now is what Kelly's arrival might mean to Michael Vick?
The Eagles the veteran signal caller a base salary of $15.5 million in 2013. According to Florio, Vick privately has made it clear that he won’t be reducing his pay in order to stick around.
But a source with knowledge of Vick’s thinking previously suggested to Florio that the quarterback would be attracted to the possibility of working with two specific coaches — Kelly and Jon Gruden.
With Kelly now the coach in Philly, the question becomes whether Vick will soften his contractual stance in order to play for the former Oregon coach.
Certainly, there's reason to wonder if Kelly's hiring takes Nick Foles out of the quarterback equation. ESPN analyst and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski seems to think that would be the case.
“Nick Foles will not run a Chip Kelly offense if he decided to come here, rest assured of that,” Jaworski said last month. “If a coach like Chip Kelly. ... That runs this up-tempo, spread, speed-style option, these guys come here, there might be a future for Michael Vick. I know he’s , I know he’s been beat up, but I’ll tell you, some of the things I’m seeing, Michael Vick can do the same things these guys are doing in the spread option.”
The broader question is whether the Eagles would offer Vick more on a reduced contract than anyone else would offer Vick, if he becomes a free agent. Also, there’s a chance Vick has soured on his teammates with the Eagles.
Vick’s comments from the day after the season would suggest that perhaps he has.
"Regardless," Florio wrote, "the presence of a new coach who likes his quarterbacks to be mobile adds a new wrinkle to Vick’s future, or lack of one, in Philadelphia. ..."
One other note here. .... While the timeline regarding the recruitment and hire of Kelly creates the impression that Tuesday’s interview with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley went sufficiently poorly to prompt the Eagles to go all in for Kelly, Florio reports that's not the case.
A source with knowledge of the situation tells Florio that, if Kelly ultimately had said no again, the job would have been offered to Bradley.