Chip Kelly had flirted with the NFL before, but every time it seemed like he could be on his way out of Oregon, something changed and Kelly headed back to the Ducks. That changed on Wednesday as Kelly agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Wednesday's deal is a shocking end to Kelly's Oregon career and a move few saw coming. NFL interest in Kelly was nothing new, but just 10 days ago he was reportedly headed back to Oregon after turning down multiple NFL opportunities. Kelly's Oregon career is now over, and he gave the Ducks a wild ride on and off the field. Here's a timeline of the his final 12 months at Oregon and his path to the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kelly appeared destined for the NFL last season, as reports surfaced he had accepted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach position. As Oregon scrambled to find a replacement, something changed and Kelly decided to remain at Oregon after all.
Back to Oregon
After spurning the Buccaneers, Kelly returned to Eugene and led the Ducks to a 12-1 season and their fourth-straight BCS bowl game. Following the Fiesta Bowl, Kelly said he would listen to NFL teams, but was also very happy at Oregon.
Kelly was reportedly the Cleveland Browns' No. 1 target, and it didn't take long for them to make a strong push. Reports surfaced that the two sides were close to a deal.
BREAKING: Chip Kelly is close to a deal to become the #Browns coach, according to a source informed of his situation.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 4, 2013
That, however, didn't last long, as later in the day the deal dissolved and Kelly headed for interviews with other teams. The Browns eventually hired Rob Chudzinski.
Like the Browns, the Eagles appeared to have Kelly atop their coaching wish list. He met with Philadelphia, but as time went on, reports began to come out saying Kelly may instead choose to remain at Oregon. Eventually, he did decide to forgo NFL opportunities and stay in Eugene ... for now.
Chip Kelly turned down a chance to go to the NFL and to returned to Oregon, according to sources. Considered Eagles but stayed at Oregon.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 7, 2013
The Eagles moved on to other candidates and it appeared Kelly would remain at Oregon another season.
Philadelphia Eagles, again
After pursuing Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and conducting two interviews with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the Eagles made one more run at Chip Kelly and this time they got their man.
Chip Kelly is the new coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, according to league sources. No announcement yet.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 16, 2013
The deal is the end to the long and winding ride of Kelly's Oregon career. Not many coaches turn down the NFL and even fewer do it three times, but apparently with Kelly, the fourth time was the charm.