PHILADELPHIA In the end, Chip Kelly chose the NFL, giving the Eagles their guy.
Philadelphia hired Kelly on Wednesday, just 10 days after he decided to stay at Oregon. Kelly, known as an offensive innovator, became the 21st coach in team history and replaced Andy Reid, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season.
He’ll be introduced at a news conference Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Eagles’ practice facility.
Kelly, 49, who was 46-7 in four years at Oregon, interviewed with the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills in a two-day span after leading the fast-flying No. 2 Ducks to a victory against Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.
The Eagles are known to have interviewed 11 candidates, including two meetings with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. All along, Kelly was thought to be Philadelphia’s first choice in a long, exhaustive process that took many twists.
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “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.”
On the day he fired Reid, Lurie appeared to be describing Kelly when he said he wanted to find a “real smart, forward-thinking coach” who is “strategic, a strong leader, very comfortable in his own skin.” Kelly reportedly was close to signing with the Browns after a long interview Jan. 4. He met with the Eagles for nine hours the next day, setting up a soap-opera scenario in which the Eagles were competing with Browns CEO Joe Banner, their former president and longtime friend of Lurie who left the organization after a falling out.
Bears hire ex-Wolfpack OC Trestman as coach
The Chicago Bears hired Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman on Wednesday to replace the fired Lovie Smith and gave him two basic tasks – fix the offense and lead the team to the playoffs on a consistent basis.
How he meshes with quarterback Jay Cutler could go a long way toward determining his success.
It’s the first head coaching job in the NFL for Trestman, a longtime assistant in the league who spent the past five seasons coaching the CFL’s Alouettes and led them to two Grey Cup titles. Trestman was an offensive coordinator with Cleveland, San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland.
Trestman was offensive coordinator at N.C. State from 2005-06.
Chicago general manager Phil Emery cast a wide net in his search, meeting with at least 13 candidates. Besides Trestman, he also brought back Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and the Indianapolis Colts’ Bruce Arians for second interviews.
Around the league
Arizona: The Cardinals, one of two NFL teams still looking for a head coach, have interviewed Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and plan to talk to the Indianapolis Colts’ Bruce Arians. Bevell was interviewed on Wednesday at Cardinals headquarters. He was the fifth known candidate to interview for the job vacated when the team fired Ken Whisenhunt the day after the season ended.
Atlanta: It’s too early for the Falcons to know how much defensive end John Abraham will play in Sunday’s NFC title game. Abraham, the NFL’s active sacks leader, made it through just 15 snaps in last week’s divisional playoff victory against Seattle before aggravating a left ankle injury that forced him to leave in the second quarter. “You don’t want to lose a good player,” Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. “We won the game, so there’s something we did right. But it does change things.”
Kansas City: Andy Reid is putting the final touches on his first coaching staff in K.C., hiring former Jaguars offensive line coach Andy Heck to fulfill the same duty with the Chiefs. Reid also announced that Kevin O’Dea will be an assistant special teams coach.
New York Giants: Quarterback Eli Manning will replace Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers on the NFC roster for the Pro Bowl. Rodgers dropped out because of knee and ankle issues, so Manning joins Atlanta’s Matt Ryan – unless the Falcons make the Super Bowl – and New Orleans’ Drew Brees as NFC quarterbacks.