The Philadelphia Eagles got their first choice for head coach in Chip Kelly. But while the Eagles were playing the waiting game with him, it briefly looked like they would hire another college coach in Brian Kelly. Yet that Kelly ultimately turned Philadelphia down, although he didn’t speak about it publicly until Jan. 29.
Kelly spoke to ESPN’s Matt Fortuna and stated that his interview with the Eagles was “more about intrigue” than anything else. Although Kelly looked like a serious threat to become Philadelphia’s head coach after his interview, the story died down soon enough and he decided to stay at Notre Dame.
Since Kelly claimed that he didn’t “have a good grasp of the NFL setup,” he decided to be “more informed” by talking to the Eagles. Yet at the end, he decided that his “heart is in college football and with Notre Dame,” which he made official four days after the interview.
It worked out for the best for the Eagles, since they secretly stepped up negotiations with Chip Kelly while the buzz over Brian Kelly died down. Philadelphia ultimately got what it wanted in the first place, while the other Kelly went back to school -- and promptly had the Manti Te’o hoax fallout to deal with.
Brian Kelly was supposedly honest about not understanding the way the NFL works. Philadelphia’s hope is that Chip Kelly is being truthful about being ready for it. If he fails, the Eagles may wonder what might have been if the other Kelly was more interested -- or if the Kelly they hired could have recognized his shortcomings faster.
While Chip has a contract set for the next five years, Brian is still negotiating an extension with Notre Dame. However, he remained confident that he will stay with the Irish for the long term. In fact, he wanted to talk to the Eagles and learn about the NFL so that he wouldn’t have to go through this process again in the future.
If the Irish prove that their undefeated regular season wasn’t a one-year fluke, more NFL and college teams will likely pursue Kelly anyway. Yet he remains adamant that his future is with Notre Dame and that this future will be bright. Will the Eagles get to say the same about their future with their own Kelly?