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Ducks need a coach -- Kelly flies to NFL Eagles

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Chip Kelly has agreed to terms with the NFL Philadelphia Eagles, signaling the end of his four-year run as Oregon Ducks head coach.University of Oregon fans are waiting to hear what the Ducks will do for a head football coach now that Chip Kelly has decided to leave for the NFL Philadelphia Eagles.

Kelly told Oregon players the news Wednesday morning, after agreeing to terms with the Eagles.

He will be the Eagles' 21st head coach in franchise history.

Kelly met with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, team President Don Smolenski and General Manager Howie Roseman in early January after the Ducks dismantled Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. They met for almost nine hours in Arizona, with both sides engaging in a wide ranging, enthusiastic discussion of everything from football philosophy to management and organizational values and ideas. The conversations continued until Kelly decided he wanted to remain at Oregon, according to the Eagles organization.

Still, Eagles staff said Kelly continued to evaluate the opportunity to work for the Eagles in the NFL.

“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” Lurie said Wednesday. “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.”

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said last week that the Ducks were "ecstatic" that Kelly was going to stay at the U of O after interviews with the Eagles, the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills.

Mullens said he had a plan for securing Kelly's successor and confirmed that offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich was to have been a candidate for promotion.

Kelly, 49, was 46-7 in four seasons as Oregon coach. He led the Ducks to BCS bowl games in each of the past four seasons.