Torn between loyalty to his players and accepting a new challenge, Chip Kelly ultimately chose the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles.
He just needed more time to make the decision.
''The hardest thing for me to do was to leave Oregon,'' Kelly said Thursday at a news conference introducing him as the 21st coach in team history. ''I knew it was a great fit, but it was whether I could leave what I have. I love those guys and it had to be a special place for me to leave.''
The Eagles hired Kelly on Wednesday, giving him a five-year contract and ending an exhaustive search to replace Andy Reid. The offensive innovator was lured away from Oregon, where he went 46-7 in four seasons and turned the program into a national powerhouse.
From the start, Kelly appeared to be Philadelphia's top choice. But two days after a nine-hour meeting in Arizona with owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski, Kelly chose to stay at Oregon.
The Eagles continued intervie...