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Ducks' Chip Kelly flies to the Eagles
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. The 49-year-old Kelly, known as an offensive innovator, becomes the 21st coach in team history and replaces 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, 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 Ducks to a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 3.
Kelly ended a whirlwind day by boarding a plane in Eugene, Ore., headed for Philadelphia, at 3:30 p.m. EST. When he arrived at Philadelphia International Airport, shortly after 7 p.m., he quickly saw a glimpse of what this team means to this city. Not only were general Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski waiting for him on the runway - they arrived with a police escort - there were fans, decked out in green, on hand, as well.
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."
The enigmatic 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. But that roller coaster ended when Kelly opted to remain - temporarily - in Eugene.
"It's a very difficult decision for me. It took me so long to make it just because the people here are special," Kelly told KEZI-TV.
"The challenge obviously is exciting for me, but it's an exciting time and it's a sad time - saying goodbye to people you love and respect, and I wanted to make sure I talked to my players and did it in the right fashion and talked to our staff. I feel I did."
Bears hire Trestman as head coach
The Bears have hired Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman to replace the fired Lovie Smith.
It's the first head coaching job in the NFL for Trestman, a long-time NFL assistant 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 San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland. The Bears hope he can get the most out of quarterback Jay Cutler and help them reach the playoffs on a consistent basis.
Chicago general manager Phil Emery met 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.
Smith was let go after Chicago missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons.
New-look Browns hire two executive VPs
The Browns have hired a pair of executive vice presidents, filling out their front office under new owner Jimmy Haslam.
Sashi Brown was hired as executive VP and general counsel on Wednesday. Brent Stehlik will be an executive VP and chief revenue officer.
Brown spent the past eight seasons as general counsel with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His duties included negotiating contracts, licensing issues and litigation. He was an attorney with a Washington, D.C.-based law firm before joining the Jaguars.
Stehlik was with the San Diego Padres the past three seasons, serving as senior vice president for business operations. He'll be in charge of generating revenue and working with clients. Stehlik also has worked with the Dallas Cowboys, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Cardinals interview Bevell, plan to talk to Arians
The Arizona 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.
It wasn't known when the Arians interview would be held, but that news, first reported by NFL.com and confirmed by The Associated Press, indicates Arizona's search will go on a few more days, at least.
Of the others who interviewed with the Cardinals, one is off the market. Mike McCoy, Denver's offensive coordinator, took the head coaching job in San Diego earlier this week.