The Philadelphia Eagles started their head coaching search with Chip Kelly. However, the Eagles resigned themselves to Kelly staying with the Oregon Ducks last week, or so it appeared. But after ESPN’s Chris Mortensen alleged on Jan. 16 that Kelly has become Philadelphia’s head coach, no one knows what to think.
Just after noon est, Mortensen announced on his Twitter account that Kelly “is the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles” according to unnamed league sources. A subsequent report on ESPN didn’t go into greater detail, yet Mortensen said that Kelly had “re-emerged as a candidate recently.”
That would appear to be the understatement of the century, given that Kelly’s return to Oregon was considered a done deal last week. But as the ESPN report stated, there was never an official announcement about Kelly staying with the Ducks. However, it was considered a done deal due to reports last week, and due to the Eagles moving onto other candidates like Gus Bradley, Ken Whisenhunt and Brian Billick.
Mortensen went back on Twitter at 12:33 p.m. est to say that the deal was official. But considering all the twists and sudden turns of the Eagles’ coaching search this month, nothing can be deemed certain until Kelly has a press conference in Philadelphia.
The Eagles still need to explain how they even lured Kelly back to the table, especially when it appeared that Bradley was their new frontrunner. It is also unclear what they offered Kelly now that they didn’t offer over a week ago. What stood in the way of making Kelly their new coach from the beginning, how did they change it, and how did they do all this under everyone’s noses until now?
The Oregon Ducks faithful will certainly want answers to these questions, as this sudden reversal will feel like a total betrayal if it is true. As for the Eagles’ faithful, they have to feel blindsided, if they are really getting the man that many originally wanted in the first place.
It seemed that Philadelphia would have to settle for Bradley, another coordinator like Jay Gruden that had a major postseason letdown, or a former coach long removed from his glory days like Whisenhunt, Billick or Jon Gruden. To get Kelly after all is a lot to take in, at least without official confirmation or understanding how the Eagles might have pulled this off.