How Gruden, Reid Helped the Eagles Land Kelly

Chip Kelly had been speaking for fewer than three minutes when he brought up a familiar, albeit surprising, name: Andy Reid.

“One person that I really want to thank in terms of advice with this whole thing was Andy Reid,” Kelly said, sitting next to Jeffrey Lurie in the Novacare auditorium Thursday afternoon. “And the fact that Andy reached out to me and told me about his experience here just told me what this organization is all about. There’s not a classier guy. When Andy texted me yesterday when I accepted the job, I told him I had really, really, really big shoes to fill, and in typical Andy fashion, he said, ‘Just be yourself and you’ll be fine.’ So I want to just publicly thank Andy, because that really right there spoke to me about what this organization is all about.”

But Reid wasn’t the only person who Kelly talked to during the last couple weeks.

A concern with Kelly is that he has no NFL experience. He’s never been a head coach, coordinator or position coach at the professional level. Has he made enough connections to put together a staff? Does he know enough people?

Kelly alleviated some of that concern when asked who in the league helped him during the information-gathering process.

“Everybody was great,” Kelly said. “I didn’t talk to anybody that was coaching because they’ve got jobs to do. Jon Gruden’s a good friend, and Jon spent time here. Tony Dungy’s son was on my team at Oregon. I’ve always had a chance to talk to Tony. Dick Vermeil and Andy. …And a lot of times, it was questions about the NFL. Other times, with Gru and Dick and Andy, it was questions about Philadelphia.”

The grouped served as an intermediary of sorts. Lurie thought Kelly was definitely a fit after the nine-hour meeting in Arizona. And Kelly liked the Eagles. But during the process, both were speaking to third parties to make sure they were making educated decisions.

“It’s ironic,” Lurie said. “We spoke to a lot of the same people, not knowing the other one’s talking to the same people. I know he’s close with Tony Dungy. I know he’s close with Jon Gruden, and we all are. I talked to Jon a lot and am very close to Tony as well.”

If you’re wondering whether Lurie interviewed Gruden himself for the coaching job…

“No, I don’t think Jon’s coming back to the NFL this year at all,” he said. “But I respect him and his opinion and we talk a lot.”

Gruden stays in the broadcast booth. Reid moves on to Kansas City. Dungy is in studio for NBC. And Vermeil is enjoying retirement.

But all played a role in the Eagles landing Kelly.

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  • http://twitter.com/digdug1988 Dana Goodman

    I am waiting to see the DC/OC hires. I already know its going to be a process so I have tempered expectations

  • meh1988

    Well there you go, Kelly haters. Obviously this doesn’t prove anything about how he’ll do (nothing will til he DOES it), but don’t you feel a little better? Gruden, Dungy, Vermeil, and Andy all think this guy is legit. I trust their opinions, even if most of it is flattery.

    Ps. Good looking out Andy Reid. Class act through and through. Dude loves this place, even with all the shit he got. Good luck to him in KC. Hopefully we still beat him next year though…

    • theycallmerob

      agree, especially about Andy. at the end of the day, the man coached in Philly for 14 years, and never once changed who he was (to the ire of everyone)…but it was always for his players. or, at least, THEY saw it that way, which is all that mattered. Classy, classy man. Wish he had gotten that trophy.

      • Pathetic1

        The players loved Andy because he would chew their butts in private rather than through them under the bus in front of everyone.

        • Pathetic1

          *throw not through

  • theycallmerob

    I’m of the belief that much of Andy’s success (especially at the start) was a result of the brilliant staff he put together, especially J. Johnson (who could never be replaced, eventually resulting in….this).
    Initial excitement/anger aside, let’s all remember that the staff he puts together will be the ultimate litmus test.

    • http://twitter.com/rebyers rebyers

      Of course it is. Just as its a team game on the field it’s a team effort in the coaches’ arena. A head coach is nothing without a good staff. Here’s hoping Kelly builds a great staff.

  • Lemur

    All the people freaking out that the Eagles were not talking to Gruden about the job should feel stupid now

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    If he’s a snake-oil salesman, he’s a good one. Seemed to say the right things and get everyone excited. We might as well be excited too. What are we going to do? Chew on our fingernails waiting for the wheels to fall off?

  • Sean

    I think it’s a classy move by Reid to be an adviser to the Eagles organization to land Chip Kelly. Most coaches wouldn’t have done that. However, there is one underlying question. Chip Kelly was offered the job on January 6th, if I’m not mistaken. Does Reid help Kelly out if Reid doesn’t already have the job in KC? Reid has his money, job, and power when he helps out Chip Kelly, so jealously or envy isn’t there. If Reid isn’t hired, does he still talk about how great of an organization the Eagles is. Just a thought.

    • jabostick

      If you’re going to make the self-interest argument, it makes more sense that he’d support someone landing in the Philly job, because he wasn’t competing for that one. More likely, though, I think Reid’s proved he’s loyal and upstanding and genuine and he would’ve been supportive anyway.

      (Or maybe he’s playing nice because he’ll want to trade a backup QB to Chip for a 2nd round pick someday lol)

    • JaKe

      Yes, I think he does. Reid enjoyed 14 years with the Eagles and knows the organization better than anyone. Further, even if he didn’t have the KC job, he’d still have the Eagles money — aren’t we paying him ~ $6M this year?

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      Reid may have been released by the Eagles, but that in my mind never precluded Reid from being the No.1 option for teams other than the Eagles looking for a Coach. He just happened to be pursued by the Hunt Family, a legend in the NFL. The Hunts have owned the Chiefs for 56 years, that’s bedrock solid. The Hunts hired Andy in a matter of hours after his release from the Eagles.