Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was recruited by Chip Kelly and started for the Eagles coach, is returning for his redshirt junior season at Oregon. Kelly did not consult Mariota, but he said he's happy for his former quarterback.
"Take it from a guy who had a real tough time leaving there – I think it’s a good decision,” Kelly said.
Mariota was expected to be a Top 10 pick in May's NFL Draft. He'll now be a top candidate in the 2015 draft.
Kelly expressed that Eugene, Ore., is a "special place." He said Mariota comes from a great family that values education. Mariota will stay and get his degree from Oregon during his fourth season.
"He’s a really special young man," Kelly said. "I think everyone in the league will have to wait a couple of years. I love coaching him. He’s exactly what you want in a football player."
There was speculation that Kelly could go after Mariota, although that came before Nick Foles' hot streak and the Eagles playing themselves out of contention for a high pick.
Defensive lineman Clifton Geathers was absent from practice for personal reasons. Safety Earl Wolff (knee), linebacker Najee Goode (hamstring), and wide receiver Jeff Maehl (concussion) continue to miss time.