EUGENE, Ore. -- On his way to board a charter plane from Eugene to Philadelphia Wednesday, Chip Kelly spoke publicly for the first time since the Philadelphia Eagles announced he would become their new head coach.
Raw video: Kelly talks about decision
Kelly described it as a "very difficult decision for me." He said it "took me so long to make it because the people here are very special and the challenge obviously is exciting for me - but it’s an exciting time, it’s a sad time."
He added that it was hard "saying goodbye to people I love and respect."
"I want to make sure I talk to my players and did it in the right fashion .. talk to my staff, and I feel like I did so."
Kelly said it was tough breaking the news to the team but that "our players are awesome they handle everything. They're fantastic and I love those guys and they wish me nothing but the best and I'm excited to get moving and they're excited, too."
Asked about what happens now for the UO program, Kelly invoked an expression he made famous during his time as head coach.
"This program has always been a 'next-man' operation and whether it's a coach or player or whatever, those guys understand that this program's in great shape. They've got great players in the program. This thing has always been about players and will always continue to be about the players."
Asked who he thought should fill his shoes as head coach, Kelly replied: "They should hire anyone on that staff right now - it's the best staff in college football."