The Philadelphia Eagles have had a busy offseason competing with the Cleveland Browns and Joe Banner. But the Eagles landed Chip Kelly over a week after the Browns gave up on him, and are also set to make former Browns coach Pat Shurmur their offensive coordinator, according to the Associated Press on Jan. 21.
However, Banner still had some words of warning for the Eagles about Kelly, which he told to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on Jan. 21. The former Philadelphia president turned Cleveland CEO told King that the Browns stopped pursuing Kelly because he was waffling too much, and was “too big of a gamble.”
The Browns were a brief favorite to land Kelly before his first conversation with the Eagles. Not long after that talk, Cleveland dropped Kelly as a candidate and eventually signed Rob Chudzinski to take over. Yet according to Banner, they would have offered Kelly the job if “there was no ambivalence.”
If they had, then Kelly might have been able to leave Oregon on better terms, before he stunned the school by going to Philadelphia over a week later. The Eagles would have probably still waited over a week to find another coach, but settled for Gus Bradley, Ken Whisenhunt or someone else instead.
Yet the Eagles took a chance by waiting for Kelly and finally getting him, despite his lack of NFL experience. With that in mind, Philadelphia already knew it was gambling on him without Banner having to say so. However, Kelly’s ambivalence could come back to haunt the Eagles after two or three years, despite having a new five-year contract according to ESPN.
If Kelly struggles and if a high profile school wants to lure him back to college, he could jump ship all over again. Of course, if he doesn’t win quick enough, Philadelphia may be ready to dump him first. But if Kelly brings the Eagles back into contention and the offers for him get even sweeter, then the team may have to worry.
Oregon paid the price for believing in Kelly, so it could be poetic justice if he blindsides Philadelphia by leaving quickly as well. In that case, Banner will have the last laugh over his former team, even if his own gamble on Chudzinski fails. Still, the Browns’ failure wouldn’t be as high profile or embarrassing as the Eagles’ would.