The Philadelphia Eagles have fired head coach Chip Kelly with one week still to play after going 6-9 during the 2015 season. Eagles CEO Jeffrey Lurie released a short statement through the team: "We appreciate all the contributions that Chip Kelly made and wish him every success going forward."
In a longer letter to fans, Lurie explained the decision as the result of deliberation over Kelly's three years as head coach.
The team will hold a press conference at noon Wednesday. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will be the Eagles' interim head coach for their season finale against the New York Giants on Sunday. Players were reportedly unaware that the decision was coming.
#Eagles did not tell the players that Chip has been fired. One just found out when I reached out to him for comment. "Damn. For real?"
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) December 30, 2015
Kelly was fired after meeting players, according to Rapoport, and there was no final address to the players.
Fox Sports' Jay Glazer said he spoke with Kelly, who told him that he wants to stay in the NFL:
Just talked to Chip Kelly, disappointed how it ended but knows it's a results-oriented biz. Insists he wants to remain in the NFL, not college. Was pulled into mtg w owner, said he didn't fight the decision.
Notably, Kelly reportedly told Glazer that the did not want to have personnel control wherever he lands next.
Philly fans booed, players spoke out against Kelly and his methods during the season, all resulting in a short stint for his first head coaching job in the NFL. He went from college coach, to the NFL, to coach/general manager all in under four years. What was a new and creative scheme in Year 1, became easily defensible just one season later.
Kelly's personnel moves might have played an even bigger role in his dismissal than his coaching. After fighting for personnel control during the 2015 offseason, several of his roster additions struggled. Quarterback Sam Bradford did not upgrade the passing game as expected, and the running game took a step back after the Eagles traded away LeSean McCoy and picked up DeMarco Murray, and ignored problems along the offensive line.
According to NJ.com, Kelly would have had to make coaching and personnel changes to return, something he reportedly refused to do. The report suggested that Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman engineered Kelly's dismissal. Roseman and Kelly were at odds last offseason, with Kelly ultimately wresting control over personnel from Roseman.
Kelly's Eagles went 10-6 in his first two seasons with the team, seemingly signalling the start of a strong era. Kelly campaigned for personnel control, and Lurie named him personnel director. When that happened, Roseman was reportedly moved to an office on the opposite of the Eagles' complex from Kelly. Twelve months later, Lurie seemingly sided with Roseman.
"I can't believe it,'' a long-time executive for an Eagles rival said when told of Kelly's firing. "They did what? Are you serious? No, you're kidding right. You can't be serious.''
When he finally realized it wasn't a joke, he put the onus on the former and probably future general manager.
"Howie got him,'' the executive said. "He won. It took him some time. But he got to the owner; and he won. That's just amazing. What is Lurie thinking? That place is just out of control.''
The Eagles also fired Ed Marynowitz, the vice president of player personnel under Kelly. Tom Donahoe, a senior football adviser to the Eagles since 2012 has been promoted to senior director of player personnel.
Kelly was also at odds with players at times. Murray told Lurie that he had lost confidence in Kelly's abilities as a head coach, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. More notably, McCoy accused Kelly of racism before the 2015 season began, citing Kelly's decision to release DeSean Jackson as an example. Though McCoy's claim was dubious, Kelly apparently wasn't the warmest coach. Indeed, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane reported that Kelly had "virtually no allies" within the Eagles organization.
Chip Kelly had virtually no allies at the NovaCare and then lost Jeffrey Lurie. Was tolerated when he won. Endeared himself to no one.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) December 30, 2015
Early rumors had Kelly returning back to his college football roots, with him quipping, "I have a job" at a press conference. His options in college are far more limited than they were in late November, but Kelly could still wind up staying in the league with several other jobs set to open very shortly.