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Eagles to be well grounded under Kelly

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- During his final season as head coach at the University of Oregon, Chip Kelly's team ran the ball 65 percent of the time.

He's not going to run it that much with the Eagles, but he is expected to run it considerably more than his predecessor, Andy Reid.

That became even more evident this week when the Eagles signed former Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones.

Jones, who was the 22nd overall pick by the Cowboys in the 2008 draft, joins a deep running back corps that already includes 2011 first-team All-Pro LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, who averaged 4.9 yards per carry as a rookie last year.

The 5-10, 215-pound Jones is a dangerous runner who has averaged 4.8 yards per carry in five NFL seasons. But he has had major durability issues, which is why the Cowboys didn't re-sign him and why the Eagles were able to sign him to a one-year, no-risk contract.

He had more than 16 carries in a game just four times in five NFL seasons.

"Things just didn't go right as far as the injuries and thing," Jones said. "But you know, that's how the game is. You've got to keep pushing on, keep moving. Things don't happen the way you plan 'em. I'm just happy to be here. I'm excited about the opportunity."

McCoy rushed for 1,309 yards and a franchise-record 17 touchdowns two seasons ago. But season-ending injuries to three of the Eagles' starting offensive linemen last year had a major impact on his production. He missed four gmes with a concussion, rushed for just 840 yards, his yards-per-carry average dropped from 4.8 to 4.2 and he had just two rushing TDs.

Brown, a 220-pounder with sub-4.4 speed, rushed for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns in back-to-back games against Carolina and Dallas, but also fumbled four times in 107 rushing attempts.

Jones was a feared kickoff returner early in his career, averaging 27.1 yards per return as a rookie. But he had just 11 returns last season. The Eagles, who finished 28th in the league in kickoff return average last season, likely will give him an opportunity to win the kickoff return job.

"It's something I always did, something I always wanted to do," he said.

--Former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said this week that he will retire as an Eagle later this year and be honored at halftime of a game, probably the team's September 19 Thursday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are coached by former Eagles coach Andy Reid, who drafted McNabb in 1999. McNabb was traded to Washington on Easter Sunday in 2010 for second- and fourth-round draft picks.
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