Do you support Chip Kelly's decision to coach the Eagles?
EUGENE, Ore. -- The Philadelphia Eagles announced Wednesday that Chip Kelly is their new head coach.
The team reported that Kelly met with owner Jeffrey Lurie, team president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman for nine hours after the Ducks Fiesta Bowl win.
The interviews had all four "engaging in a wide ranging, enthusiastic discussion of everything from football philosophy to management and organizational values and ideas. The conversations continued until Kelly decided he wanted to remain at the University of Oregon."
The team statement said Kelly continued to consider an NFL job after returning to Eugene.
“He’s thought long and hard over it the past ten days. It’s a challenge he’s always wanted to take and he wasn’t sure the opportunity would present itself again,” Athletic Director Rob Mullens said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "There's risk in all of this ... we will make best decision we can to replace Chip Kelly."
The decision was made without expectation of a counter-offer when Kelly called Wednesday morning, Mullens said.
This will be Kelly's first job as an NFL coach. Terms of the deal were not released.
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."
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” said Lurie. “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 also previously interviewed with the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills.
His return to Oregon after the Fiesta Bowl prompted sighs of relief from athletics administrators, fans and boosters. However, the school made no formal announcement that he had returned to stay.
Wednesday, Mullens said in a prepared statement that “I want to thank Chip for his leadership and commitment to building on the Oregon Football foundation of excellence. We have enjoyed incredible success over the past four years. I have great respect for Chip, consider him a friend and wish him the best of luck in the NFL.
Kelly, 49, earned a base salary of $2.8 million this past season and had five years left on his contract. Mullens said his contract had a buyout clause, but did not elaborate on the amount that will be paid.
He said Oregon was now focused on "identifying a leader who is the right fit to guide Oregon football."
Many have speculated that Kelly's replacement will be offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, considered the heir apparent. Wednesday Mullens would not name any forerunners but expressed hope the coaching staff would remain largely intact.
More: Kelly turns down the NFL
Kelly had a 46-7 record at Oregon as a head coach. His team lost in the 2009 Rose Bowl and 2010 BCS national championship, won the 2011 Rose Bowl and the 2012 Fiesta Bowl.
He came to Oregon from the University of New Hampshire, where he was offensive coordinator.
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