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Dr. Saturday

Chip Kelly does an about-face, leaves Oregon for the NFL’s Eagles

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

It was 10 days ago that Chip Kelly called Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens and told him he was staying at Oregon.

"Obviously, we're ecstatic that Coach Kelly decided to remain at the University of Oregon," Mullens said, according to the Oregonian.

[Related: Oregon's Chip Kelly named head coach of the Eagles]

Had Kelly just left right after the Fiesta Bowl, before he told Oregon he would return, it would have been hard to argue with him, even for the fans and players at the Fiesta Bowl who chanted for him to stay. He was the hottest name in the NFL coaching search circles and Oregon seemed prepared for his departure. Now, after Kelly left anyway for the Philadelphia Eagles less than two weeks after telling Oregon he wasn't going to leave, Ducks fans will surely have more venom towards him.

Kelly's hiring by the Eagles was reported first by ESPN, confirmed by other outlets and later confirmed by the university:

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It's a shocking turn of events, to say the least.

Less than two weeks ago when Kelly said he would stay, he was lauded by his boss for the way he handled the situation.

"(Kelly) did exactly what he said he would do: He would talk, he would gather all the information and then he would reflect and make a decision — and that's exactly what he did," Mullens said, according to the Oregonian. "I appreciate the way he handled it. He kept me in the loop the entire time, and I was pleased to get the call."

[Related: Chip Kelly's departure to NFL will impact Oregon's recruiting]

This heel turn will go down in recent sports lore alongside Nick Saban's infamous "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach" just before leaving to take that job. No matter what reason Kelly had - if Philadelphia stepped to the plate with more money or power, or he simply had a change of heart - his credibility will be a major question going forward considering how he told Oregon one thing and then did the other.

Oregon thought it had a year before it had to worry again about Kelly and whether a NFL team would lure him away. It turns out, the Ducks were blindsided 10 days later.

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