Here’s the latest on the Chip Kelly saga.
On Saturday morning the reports all had Chip Kelly set to sign on as coach of the Cleveland Browns. Good friend Jimmy Bama told me that the NFL Network had a reporter talking about how the Eagles had to go to Plan B or almost back to the drawing board. All seemed hopeless.
But the Eagles had lunch planned with Chip Kelly. Lunch lasted 9 hours. The original plan was for Kelly to have dinner with the Browns, but apparently Jeff Lurie and Howie Roseman were still shoving mozzarella sticks and chicken wings his way (I’m assuming Lurie splurged for appetizers).
I’ve had some big meals in my day. I’ve had some marathon eating sessions. 9 hours? I’ve never come close. Obviously the Eagles were negotiating with Kelly for much of that, but you do wonder what kind of a feast they had for him. Barrels of pudding. Big boxes of Funyons. Ah, to dream.
The meeting ended at 930 PST. Reports say that the Eagles will be staying in touch with Kelly. Reuben Frank reported that the Eagles are still scheduled to meet with Mike McCoy and Doug Marrone. What does all of this mean?
Clearly Chip Kelly is the team’s #1 choice. You don’t meet with a guy for 9 hours unless you really want him as your coach. The Eagles have likely made a big offer. Kelly is now talking to his agent about that offer as well as the Browns offer. I think this decision will involve more than money. Which owner/GM would he rather work with? Which set of players is better? Where does he want to live? And so on. That said, the money needs to be close or passing up the bigger offer will be hard.
The Eagles are tying to maintain some sense of leverage by letting their interest in McCoy and Marrone be made public. I doubt this bothers Kelly or his agent at all, but that’s how the game is played. The Browns leaked a report earlier tonight that they were choosing between Kelly and Marrone as their favorite candidate.
Right now the ball is in Kelly’s court. He has to decide which team/organization/city/misc he prefers. As of Saturday afternoon I thought the Eagles maybe had a 20 percent chance to sign him. Now I think it is 50-50 or maybe in the Eagles advantage. They talked to him for 9 hours. That is one hell of a meeting. Browns fans can find optimism in the fact that he met with the Eagles that long and didn’t sign.
I do think Kelly is doing the right thing. He met with the Bills, Browns, and Eagles. He didn’t jump at the first good offer. He’s listened to everyone and is going to make a decision now that he’s heard everyone’s sales pitch.
I assume we’ll find out Sunday what Kelly’s decision is. Early reports said he wanted to decide by Saturday night, but I don’t think he anticipated a 9-hour lunch session.
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An Eagles fan showed me this video on Twitter. The ultimate Cleveland sales job.
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On Saturday I posted my preferred list of coaching candidates.
In case anyone missed it, I wrote a long piece on Chip Kelly a week or so ago.
I also listed info on other coaching candidates here.