PHILADELPHIA – In the end, Chip Kelly chose the NFL, giving the Eagles their guy.
Philadelphia hired Kelly on Wednesday, just 10 days after he decided to stay at Oregon. The 49-year-old Kelly, known as an offensive innovator, becomes the 21st coach in team history and replaces Andy Reid, who was fired Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season.
He’ll be introduced at a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Eagles’ practice facility.
Kelly, who was 46-7 in four years at Oregon, interviewed with the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills in a two-day span after leading the fast-flying Ducks to a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.
The Eagles are known to have interviewed 11 candidates, including two meetings with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. All along, Kelly was thought to be Philadelphia’s first choice in a long, exhaustive process that took many twists.
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “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.”
The enigmatic Kelly reportedly was close to signing with the Browns after a long interview Jan. 4. He met with the Eagles for nine hours the next day, setting up a soap-opera scenario in which the Eagles were competing with Browns CEO Joe Banner, their former president and longtime friend of Lurie who left the organization after a falling out. But that roller coaster ended when Kelly opted to remain — temporarily — in Eugene, Ore.
Kelly doesn’t have any pro coaching experience, but aspects of his up-tempo offense are already being used by New England and Washington.
BEARS: Chicago hired Montreal Alouettes Coach Marc Trestman to replace the fired Lovie Smith and gave him two basic tasks — fix the offense and lead the team to the playoffs on a consistent basis.
It’s the first head coaching job in the NFL for Trestman, a longtime assistant in the league who spent the past five seasons coaching the CFL’s Alouettes and led them to two Grey Cup titles. Trestman was an offensive coordinator with Cleveland, San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland.
Trestman hwasted little time starting to assemble his staff.
A person familiar with the situation said the Bears hired New Orleans Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer as their offensive coordinator.
The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, reported on their website that special teams coach Joe DeCamillis was leaving to become Chicago’s assistant head coach/special teams coordinator.
CHIEFS: Andy Reid hired former Jaguars offensive line coach Andy Heck to fulfill the same duty with Kansas City.
Reid also announced Kevin O’Dea will be an assistant special teams coach.
CARDINALS: Arizona interviewed Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and plans to talk to the Indianapolis Colts’ Bruce Arians.
GIANTS: Quarterback Eli Manning will replace Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers on the NFC roster for the Pro Bowl.
Rodgers dropped out because of knee and ankle issues, so Manning joins Atlanta’s Matt Ryan — unless the Falcons make the Super Bowl — and New Orleans’ Drew Brees as NFC quarterbacks.
This will be Manning’s second Pro Bowl; he played in the game in Honolulu following the 2008 season.
He also made the NFC squad last season, but the Giants won the NFC championship and then the Super Bowl.
Denver’s Peyton Manning is on the AFC roster.
FALCONS: It’s too early to know how much defensive end John Abraham will play in Sunday’s NFC title game.
Abraham, the NFL’s active sacks leader, made it through just 15 snaps in last week’s divisional playoff victory against Seattle before aggravating a left ankle injury that forced him to leave in the second quarter.
“You don’t want to lose a good player,” Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. “We won the game so there’s something we did right. But it does change things.”
The Falcons are making contingency plans in case Abraham is unable to play at full strength against the San Francisco 49ers at the Georgia Dome.
Abraham, who has not been available to speak with reporters this week, missed practice Wednesday even though Coach Mike Smith listed him as having limited participation.
But it’s clear that the Falcons (14-3) will be pleased to have Abraham on the field for any length of time against San Francisco (12-4-1).
“He’s a sack master,” linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. “That’s what I like to call him — Father Abe.
“We look forward to getting him back out there this week. I think the guys that had a chance to play in his absence did a good job stepping in and doing what they need to do in order to help the team get the win.”