For now, Kelly said, he is enjoying the different challenges presented by the NFL. He is 8-6 and in first place in the NFC East in his rookie season after going 46-7 in four years as the coach at Oregon.
“I had a good understanding of what the league was all about, was prepared for it,” Kelly said. “I think the difference between the college and the pros is that every single week is a challenge. You can look at some of the games you've played in college and you may hype them up that way. But in the back of your mind, you know what the outcome of the game will be before it's played because there is such a big discrepancy.
“In this league, there is no discrepancy. You've got to come to play every week. The team that executes the best usually ends up the team that's on top.”
Kelly has been mentioned in connection with the vacant University of Texas job. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Kelly is on a list of coaches that Texas athletic director Steve Patterson would like to interview.
The report underscored the notion that Kelly is not fully committed to the NFL. He left Oregon during an NCAA investigation into his use of a talent scout in recruiting. Kelly said the investigation had nothing to do with his decision to take the Eagles job. But his departure probably lightened the NCAA discipline of Oregon -- the program was placed on probation and lost just one scholarship per year for two years.
Kelly himself was given a show-cause order, which means a college hiring him would have to demonstrate to the NCAA that he should be hired. That order lasts for one more year.
Kelly said he has spoken to no one about other jobs and plans to remain with the Eagles “for a while.” But the Texas report had Philadelphia sports-talk stations discussing whether Kelly would bolt, and how far Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie should go to retain him.
If Texas boosters read that quote about the NFL being a challenge “every single week” as a sign Kelly prefers the college game, they should read on.
“I think anybody that's a true competitor likes that,” Kelly said. “I think that's what this deal is all about. You don't want anything handed to you. You want the opportunity to go out and compete each day. That is the one thing to me that was attractive about the NFL. You play more games. You have more chances to compete. It’s always about the competition. If you ask any coach, the fun part’s the games. The fact that you get more games and the quality of the competition every single week is just going to test you, I think we all enjoy that.”