The Philadelphia Eagles released Chip Kelly Tuesday after nearly three seasons with the franchise, but the former coach had nothing but positive things to say in the aftermath Wednesday.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passed along Kelly’s comments following his firing:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
Ex-#Eagles coach Chip Kelly has released a statement, saying among other things, "My players mean the world to me." https://t.co/VGIPoaXaGZ2015-12-31 01:35:24
The former Oregon Ducks and Eagles coach deserves some credit for recognizing the people who gave him the opportunity, as well as the players he built relationships with during his tenure. For context, ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio noted owner Jeffrey Lurie wanted to “strip” Kelly of personnel control, but Kelly “balked,” via Kevin Winter of ESPN.
Lurie also offered some comments on his decision to release Kelly, per Lindsay H. Jones of the USA Today:
This was really a three-year evaluation of where we’re heading, what is the trajectory, what is the progress or lack thereof and what do I foresee for the future. That’s why the decision was made.
Sometimes there is a culture within an organization and with players that create momentum and energy and create a fluidity. We never achieved that. It was too inconsistent…
…The difference between winning the division or not might have been slight, but this was not a strong division. You’ve got to look at things outside of just winning the NFC East. It’s a bigger situation than that.
Kelly won 10 games in each of the last two seasons, but he was 6-9 this year and missed a chance to win a mediocre-at-best NFC East. His personnel decisions were questioned when he brought in oft-injured quarterback Sam Bradford and free agent running back DeMarco Murray and traded running back LeSean McCoy.
He also added cornerback Byron Maxwell (who has been a bust following the hype that surrounded him in Seattle) and released wide receiver DeSean Jackson after the 2014 campaign, among other moves.
This is only Philadelphia’s second losing season since 2005, and Kelly’s moves as a psuedo-front-office figure did not work out or match his coaching ability he demonstrated with two-straight 10-win campaigns.
Now he is one of the high-profile coaches on the market as the offseason approaches.