Calling the report that he and the Browns were “close” to a deal “erroneous,” new Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly implied the Browns weren’t really in the running to hire him as their head coach despite a reported seven-hour interview in Arizona in January.
Asked about choosing the Eagles over the Browns today at the NFL Scouting Combine, Kelly said, “I just thought for me the Eagles was the best opportunity.”
He said he was “really excited” when he met Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman, owner Jeffrey Lurie and President Don Smolenski.
“It was the right fit for me and that’s what I felt,” Kelly said. “So my decision ended up being, ‘Am I going to stay with a bunch of players that I love coaching and had a tremendous amount of success (with)?’ If I was going to go anywhere, it was going to be Philadelphia. It wasn’t an elimination (of the Browns) or anything, I just thought Philly was the best fit.”
Pressed on why he felt that way, Kelly offered nothing more.
Roseman said he didn’t feel that he had to sell the Eagles to Kelly, the hottest name as eight NFL teams filled coaching openings.
“We weren’t so much recruiting as talking, discussing what we do, how we believe in things, our support of a coach,” Roseman said. “That’s what we are. I feel like my main job is to be the coach’s GM and to get them the players they need to be successful. That’s important to us.
“Our owner feels that’s very important, that he’s there for our head coach. We felt that way when coach (Andy) Reid was there and coach Kelly and whomever we were going to hire, that’s the way the organization is structured.”
After Oregon defeated Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, the Browns reportedly met with Kelly for seven hours the next day in Arizona. Following the meeting, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the Browns were close to a deal with Kelly.
“Erroneous,” Kelly said. “That was a quote from Wedding Crashers, too.”