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Eagles introduce Kelly as coach

The SportsXchange

The Philadelphia Eagles introduced Chip Kelly as their new coach on Thursday as they hope to turn around their fortunes with the offensive innovator in charge.

Kelly, the team's 21st head coach, replaces Andy Reid.

Kelly went 46-7 in four seasons as Oregon's coach and attracted attention from NFL teams because of his high-powered offense. The Eagles interviewed 11 candidates before deciding on Kelly.

Reid was fired on Dec. 31 after 14 years as the team's head coach. Philadelphia went 4-12 in 2012.

"The key was to find the right leader, not make the fastest decision," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. "We really were able to circle back with coach Chip Kelly. We had an outstanding interview with him on Jan. 5. It was an outstanding nine hours, we learned a lot. We were told, the same day, that it was really a question of going to the Eagles or going back to Oregon. At that point, we learned he might go back to the University of Oregon, but we kept in touch."

Kelly, 49, does not have any NFL experience, but became a serious candidate for several jobs after leading Oregon to a 12-1 record and a blowout victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.

"It's a really exciting time for me," Kelly said. "It was a difficult decision. There's not many opportunities to coach in the National Football League, and every one of them is special. But this is an iconic franchise with an outstanding owner. I knew what this place was all about, and this is where I wanted to be.

The Eagles have not won a playoff game since 2008 and finding a quarterback to run Kelly's no-huddle offense will be a challenge. Nick Foles, who replaced Michael Vick during the season, looked good at times but also struggled. Vick will be 33 next season and may not be willing to restructure his contract, which pays him $15 million. Neither appears to be a good fit for the particular offense.

"I'm going to look at everyone, and look at everything we can do to put the best product on the field," Kelly said. "There's nobody ruled in and there's nobody ruled out at this point in time."
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