The Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly under some questionable circumstances. Since Kelly seemed set on staying with the Oregon Ducks before joining the Eagles on Jan. 16, and since he has a history of indecisions, some in Philadelphia may be careful about trusting him. Yet in his opening press conference on Jan. 17, Kelly assured everyone that he was “all in.”
If Kelly’s style doesn’t work out in the NFL and if the Eagles become impatient with him, the college game could welcome him back with open arms even if Oregon wouldn’t. But Kelly made sure to say that “I’m an NFL coach and this is where I want to be” in his introductory press conference, as the Reading Eagle transcribed.
The way that Kelly backed away from his commitment to Oregon was reminiscent of Nick Saban, who jumped from Michigan State to LSU to the Miami Dolphins and finally to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the past decade. Saban infamously proclaimed that he wouldn’t leave the Dolphins after two seasons, but he went to Alabama anyway in 2007 and got three national titles out of it.
Kelly didn’t outright lie and officially confirm he would stay in Oregon, although all signs pointed to the contrary a week ago. But if he could back away from the Ducks like that, the Eagles must wonder if he would do the same to them if things don’t turn around quickly.
By 2014, there are bound to be high profile colleges who would take a run at him, especially if his offense hasn’t panned out in the NFL by then. If it does, then it would make Kelly an even hotter target, and schools could tempt him with even more power and control than he’d have in Philadelphia.
Although Kelly could say he is fully committed in his very first press conference, things can always change after two or three seasons. The only question is whether the Eagles would want such a change by then as well.
If Kelly doesn’t work out with Philadelphia, then he does have some options and a proven track record in college. However, with the sorry state the Eagles are in at the end of the Reid era, they need Kelly more than he needs them. As such, trusting him to stay true to his word is one of the many big gambles the Eagles are taking.