Chip Kelly: 'I've burned the boats'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday January 17, 2013

Posted by: Chris Vannini on January 17, 2013

It's all about people for Chip Kelly.

The former Oregon head coach was introduced as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. The decision came as a surprise to some after reports surfaces Kelly would stay in Eugene, but in the end, it came down to the people in Philly.

"I probably took a long time with this decision, and probably a lot longer than some other people wanted me to take, but I think, for me, I've always coached and been involved in this game because of the people," he said. "I knew what this place was all about, and it's really where I wanted to be. I love my players. We had a great culture at Oregon, have an unbelievable coaching staff that has been together since I took over head coach. It was really knowns vs. unknowns.

"For me, it was just very, very difficult to say goodbye to a bunch of men that I truly love and respect. The way our players handled it when I talked to them the other day, it was nothing short of amazing to me. I probably cried more than they did. They just wanted the best for me, as I wanted for them."

Kelly said former Eagles coach and current Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid reached out to Kelly to help him with his decision. Kelly also spoke with former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil.

Of course, the biggest question mark, and perhaps selling point, for Kelly is his offensive scheme and if it will work in the NFL. Kelly is also in the rare position of never having coached or played in the NFL, but he doesn't see that as a problem.

"Football is football, and this is football at its highest level," Kelly said. "But it's still a game that's played 11-on-11. It's about putting together a great coaching staff, having a great organization behind you and having great players. Ultimately, whether it's in high school football or college football or professional football, it's a personnel-driven operation.

"I know, and the experience I've had, is to any way we can, put our players in the best situation when they have an opportunity to be successful. That's what this game comes down to. Are there a lot more cameras around? Yep. But that's what this deal's all about. It's still the game of football. It's Xs and Os and I understand that aspect of it."

Kelly has begun the process of putting together a staff, making phone calls last night.

As for any thoughts on returning to college football, Kelly said he's all-in with the Eagles and the NFL. In six years, he's gone from FCS assistant to NFL head coach.

"I'm all-in," he said. "I think it was Cortes who burned the boats. I've burned the boats. I'm not going back. I'm in. I'm an NFL coach and this is where I want to be. If there was any indecision in terms of not wanting to be in, I wouldn't have made the jump. I made the jump, I'm here, and I'm excited to be here."



Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

Recent Articles

Related Articles