Chip Kelly has made a living out of doing things fast. Whether it be his offense, his ascension through the coaching ranks or decisions on his future, Kelly doesn’t do anything slow. It seems he’s the same way when he changes his mind, too. After declaring he would be back in Eugene next season as the head coach of the Oregon Ducks less than two weeks ago, Kelly has reversed course and will reportedly be the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
First reported by Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the news took the internet by surprise, and quickly took over the national discussion. After seemingly pulling his name out of the running for the job and the Eagles moving on to other possible candidates, Philadelphia came back around and got their number one choice for their next head coach when this process started.
And according to reports, this whole thing came together in the last 24 hours. Kelly seemed to have every intention of coming back to the college football ranks next season, recruiting right up through yesterday. Nobody knew negotiations had re-opened and the whole thing was kept close to the vest; though, in true Kelly fashion, they didn’t have to keep it under wraps for very long.
Kelly will get criticized for flipping to the NFL after saying he was committed to Oregon in 2013, already drawing comparisons to Todd Graham and Bobby Petrino. Those are unfair comparisons to make, however. Oregon’s season ended on January 3, just 13 days ago. Less than two weeks is not an absurd amount of time for someone to consider a position, though the constant updates of a Twitter-fed news cycle makes two weeks seem like an eternity. And Kelly has never kept his NFL-aspirations a secret.
This isn’t a midseason flee or texts from the plane on the way to Philadelphia. Kelly was going to be the head coach of the Oregon Ducks next season when his initial interviews with NFL teams didn’t yield the offer or opportunity he was looking for. Then Philly came calling again, likely sweetening their deal when their other coaching options dried up, or didn’t appeal to them like Kelly did.
While most people will jump on Kelly for going back on a commitment, he has put the Oregon program in the best position it has ever been in. He went 46-7 during his four seasons as head coach, taking them to four straight BCS bowls (the school had four in their entire history before he got there). With offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich already primed to step into the head coaching role, there’s no reason to think the good times will stop.
The now former-Oregon coach has spent his career jumping on opportunities as they’ve come, which is how he’s gone from offensive coordinator at New Hampshire OC to head coach of the Ducks to now head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. When opportunity knocks, Chip Kelly is there to answer it, no matter the timing.