By Will Brinson cbsspoortsline.com
No, this isn't an older post we accidentally published: The Eagles have, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, hired Chip Kelly away from Oregon, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms.
The team confirmed the news on Wednesday, announcing Kelly as the 21st coach in Eagles history. The news was first reported by Chris Mortensen of ESPN.
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” Eagles owner Jeff 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 flirted with Philadelphia earlier in the offseason but ultimately turned down multiple NFL advances in order to return to Oregon. Or so we thought?
It's absolutely stunning news to see Kelly flip-flop like this, and it will raise plenty of speculation about the way the NCAA views Oregon's short-term future with respect to sanctions as well as whether or not Kelly can be trusted to stick to a decision in the NFL.
There will also be an interesting debate about if Kelly was given enough personnel power. Freeman reports Kelly got a "large amount of personnel say."
This makes sense: the best tactic that you can ever have in a negotiation is to walk away from talks. Kelly did just that, "returning" to Oregon and spurning the NFL and, apparently, convincing the Eagles to give him the personnel control that he wanted.
Additionally, sources tell CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman that the Eagles, following Kelly's initial decision to spurn them, went back to other coaching candidates with large financial offers, "but were still turned down."
"At that point in the process, the source said, the Eagles were offering their head coaching candidates way above the salary Nick Saban is making at Alabama (over $5.3 million per year)," Feldman writes.
It's a logical step to assume they then approached Kelly with a Godfather-style offer.
This is the sixth hire this offseason and, thus far, all have been offensive-minded coaches.
There will be much debate about Kelly's system, but know this: it's not some gimmick. It's a run-based offense that can work in the NFL. Kelly will have to prove that, of course, and he'll have plenty of doubters. But if you write him off because you don't care for innovation, you're making a critical mistake.