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Sunday, January 6, 2013
The Eagles and Chip Kelly limbo

By Dan Graziano

The reports at this point are fairly uniform. The Philadelphia Eagles met with University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly all day and night Saturday in Phoenix, one day after it was reported that Kelly was on the verge of a deal to become the Cleveland Browns' coach. That Kelly still took eight or nine hours to meet with Eagles decision-makers Saturday likely indicates that the Eagles remained a legitimate suitor for his services as they look for a head coach. It unquestionably indicates that they have a high level of interest in hiring him to do that job.

Chip Kelly
Where Chip Kelly stands on his coaching future might be unclear even to Chip Kelly at this hour.
Now, as CSNPhilly.com reports here, the Eagles still retain plans to meet Sunday with Syracuse coach Doug Marrone and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. If you choose, you can read into that the idea that they don't like their chances with Kelly and are moving on to other options. In reality, no one really knows, possibly even Kelly, who could still spurn both the Browns and Eagles and go back to Oregon, which is a pretty well-funded outfit it its own right and likely doesn't want him to leave.

There are certainly people on Kelly's side who would like to see their man benefit from the appearance of serious interest from multiple teams, and if he's negotiating with the Browns, for example, and trying to get the best possible deal from them, a nine-hour meeting with the Eagles could be just the thing to trigger that. If he really wanted the Eagles all along, getting the word out Friday that he was closing in on a Browns deal likely improved whatever proposal the Eagles were already planning to make him Saturday.

There are also, undoubtedly, people on the Eagles' side of this who, if the team is seriously negotiating with Kelly, know the team's bargaining position would benefit from his finding out that they're still looking at other candidates.

Point is, there are a lot of agendas at work here. I believe that Kelly is going to leave Oregon for the NFL. I believe the Eagles have some level of interest in making him their coach, and that he has at some point in this process had some level of interest in doing just that. But I hesitate to jump to any conclusions as long as so many competing reports are coming in from so many different places.

The folks who cover the Eagles in the Philadelphia media are doing a good job trying not to blow with the wind on this and instead give you the information they have without simply serving as mouthpieces for one side or the other. My advice to you Eagles fans who are reading this is to be patient, and as careful and judicious with your consumption of the information as the trustworthy Eagles news outlets are being with their dissemination of it.

I know it's difficult. I know it's no fun. I know you want answers now, and that you want to parse every scrap of information for meaning and portent. But the fact is, these things almost always take more time than fans want them to take. There are a number of reasons for that, not the least of which is that, even after decisions are made, these remain complex, multi-year, multi-million-dollar deals that take time and care to fully complete. Someone's going to coach the Eagles next year. It could be Chip Kelly. But after two days' worth of breathless updates that seemed to be pointing to a conclusion, we're all still left to wait to find out the final answer. Might not come that soon, either, sorry to say.