On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly away from the University of Oregon. Just a day later, on Thursday, the Eagles held a press conference to introduce Kelly to the media and fans of the Eagles.
The conference started at 10:30 a.m. PT, less than 24 hours after Kelly said his goodbyes to his Oregon players and boarded a plan for Philadelphia. Late last night, Kelly signed autographs for fans as he left the airport in Philly.
"It's a really exciting time for me. It was a difficult decision," Kelly said in his opening remarks. He said he was struck by the passion and energy of the Philadelphia leadership, and that Philadelphia is where he "wanted to be."
Kelly was adamant in his assertion that Oregon was a wonderful place to coach, and he talked frequently about the "great people" he had at Oregon. "It was very difficult for me to say goodbye to players I love and respect."
He said that it took him a while to make this decision not because of any "trepidation" about Philadelphia, but because of his love for the people at the University of Oregon. He said that Oregon gave him a chance when he was a coach at New Hampshire, and he fell in love with the players and coaches in Ducks country. In a rare display of emotion from Kelly, he almost choked up when spoke of his Oregon players, saying "I love those guys."
Kelly said that former Eagles coach Andy Reid had a great influence on Kelly ultimately choosing to accept the job in Philadelphia. Reid talked to Kelly multiple times and ultimately helped Kelly realize how great of a place Philadelphia was to coach football. "Just be yourself and you'll be fine," Reid wrote to Kelly in a text message after the former Oregon coach announced that he would take over as head coach of the Eagles.
When asked what gives him confidence that he can coach in the NFL after having never played or coached in the league before, Kelly simply said "football is football." He said that he plans to make adjustments and that, even though he doesn't have NFL experience, "I'm here, so you're stuck with me."
Kelly went on to field loads of questions of the Philadelphia media.
And as someone who's covered Oregon football over the past three seasons and has been a fan of the Ducks since I was a child, I can only say that I appreciate each and every moment Kelly gave to the Oregon football program, and he's left the program in better shape than he found it. And that's all you can really ask.
Good luck, Chip.
© 2013 Max Price - All Rights Reserved.
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