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Eagles hire Oregon's Kelly

The SportsXchange

The Philadelphia Eagles ended their search Wednesday for Andy Reid's replacement with a surprising move, hiring Oregon's Chip Kelly as the 21st head coach in franchise history.

Kelly, 49, also interviewed with Cleveland but said last week that he had decided to remain at Oregon. The Browns hired Rob Chudzinski as their head coach,

The Eagles continued to interview candidates, including Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien from the college ranks. The team had Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in for an interview on Tuesday.

Former NFL head coaches Lovie Smith, Ken Whisenhunt and Brian Billick also interviewed with the Eagles in the three weeks since Reid was let go on Dec. 31 after 14 seasons as head coach.

Kelly met with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, team president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman for nine hours in Arizona after the Fiesta Bowl earlier this month. The Eagles said in a statement that it was a "wide-ranging, enthusiastic discussion of everything from football philosophy to management and organizational values and ideas."

But while the Eagles continued to speak with candidates, they maintained their interest in Kelly. Then he suddenly changed his mind and decided to jump into his first head coaching job in the NFL.

"Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles," Lurie said. "He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh energetic approach to our team."

In four seasons as head coach at Oregon, Kelly guided the Ducks to a 46-7 record and four consecutive BCS bowl bids, including a 35-17 victory over Kansas State in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl. Before he was elevated to head coach, Kelly served as the team's offensive coordinator in 2007-08 under Mike Bellotti.

Kelly is known for his innovative offense in college, but some have questioned whether it will work in the NFL. Last season, Oregon averaged 49.7 points per game en route to a 12-1 record.
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