As initially reported by ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the Philadelphia Eagles have announced that they have agreed to terms with University of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to become the 21st head coach in franchise history.
"Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles," owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement released by the team. "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."
Kelly, 49, was pursued by the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills this offseason, spending nine hours with Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and team president Don Smolenski on Jan. 5. The Bills hired former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone, who was also a candidate in Philadelphia, and the Browns bowed out of the running, "rebooting" their search that ended last Thursday night with the hiring of Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinkski.
Kelly decided to remain at Oregon after Nike founder and Ducks booster Phil Knight made a strong push to retain the innovative head coach who had guided Oregon to a 46-7 record over the last four seasons. A similar scene played out in 2012, as Kelly was in negotiations to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before deciding at the last minute to remain at Oregon.
Under Kelly, Oregon has ranked in the Top 5 in each of the last three seasons, appeared in four straight BCS bowls, including the 2010 National Championship Game, which the Ducks lost to Auburn, 22-19. Oregon won three straight Pac-10/Pac-12 championships and appeared in two Rose Bowls during Kelly's tenure in Eugene.
In addition to Kelly, the Eagles interviewed Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. The Eagles had interest in Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, each of whom, like Chip Kelly, decided to remain in college. Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was interviewed, as well, but was not a finalist in Philadelphia and was named the head coach of the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday.
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