Eagles fire Chip Kelly amid team's lost season

The Eagles fired coach Chip Kelly on Tuesday evening in a stunning announcement that altered the course of the franchise.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie announced the decision in a statement released by the team at 7:12 p.m. He will address reporters on Wednesday at noon.

"I spent the last three seasons evaluating the many factors involved in our performance as a team," Lurie said in an open letter. "As I watched this season unfold, I determined that it was time to make a change."

Lurie had a meeting with Kelly on Tuesday that did not go well, according to a league source. A decision was reached in the afternoon. The bold move was made just days before the season finale, which is unprecedented for Lurie. He had waited until the end of the season during the previous three firings. The Eagles labeled Kelly's dismissal a "release" in their official announcement. There is a full team meeting scheduled on Wednesday.

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Kelly, 52, told Fox Sports that he was "disappointed" in how his tenure ended but knows it's a result-oriented business. He said he did not fight Lurie's decision and he wants to remain in the NFL, according to the report.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will be the interim head coach on Sunday against the New York Giants. The Eagles also fired vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz. Tom Donahue will take over as senior director of player personnel.

Vice president of football operations Howie Roseman, the Eagles' former general manager, could take on a larger role again. Roseman will be a part of the search for a new coach along with Lurie and president Don Smolenski. That same trio oversaw the coaching search in 2013, when Kelly replaced Andy Reid.

"I am determined and excited to select a new coach to help us obtain our ultimate goal," Lurie said.

Kelly completes his tenure in Philadelphia with a 26-21 record. He went 10-6 in his first two seasons with the Eagles. He is 6-9 this season. Kelly's team only made the postseason in 2013, when the Eagles lost to New Orleans in the first round.

It was considered a boon when the Eagles hired Kelly away from Oregon on Jan. 16, 2013. Kelly initially turned them down before reconsidering his decision.

He brought an up-tempo offense and innovated the team's approach to training and recovery, with an emphasis on sports science that was seen throughout the NovaCare Complex. The Eagles revitalized the weight room with an investment in excess of $1 million for new strength equipment. They reconfigured the cafeteria. The sleep patterns and hydration levels of players were monitored on a daily basis.

The Eagles captivated the city during Kelly's first season, but the most intrigue came during the offseason. Kelly released star wide receiver DeSean Jackson in March 2014, but the boldness was topped during this past offseason.

It started when Kelly gained full personnel control. In his first two years, Kelly and Roseman reported directly to Lurie and Kelly only had control of the 53-man roster. There was tension in the front office, and Lurie gave Kelly full control of the 90-man roster in an effort to go from "good to great." Lurie later explained that Kelly had a "requirement to sort of have a football guy that he was comfortable with in terms of helping him day to day and minute by minute." That "football guy" was Marynowitz, who reported directly to Kelly.

Under Kelly's direction, the Eagles traded LeSean McCoy, who was the franchise's all-time leading rusher, for linebacker Kiko Alonso, who played at Oregon for Kelly. Kelly also dealt quarterback Nick Foles for quarterback Sam Bradford in a move in which he also sacrificed the Eagles' second-round draft choice in 2016. He let receiver Jeremy Maclin leave in free agency and paid big money to running back DeMarco Murray, whom Kelly has since demoted. Kelly also released Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis after Mathis skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason program.

The moves backfired this season. Kelly's offense regressed for the third consecutive year, and the inconsistencies of his defense went unsolved. The Eagles were eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday in a 38-24 loss to the Washington Redskins.

"One hundred percent, that's all on my shoulders," Kelly said of failing to make postseason two years in a row. "It's the same thing I said a year ago, it's unacceptable. We have got to find a way to do a better job, and we have to put these guys in a better position to make plays. So it's 100 percent on my shoulders."

Still, Kelly sounded determined to return in 2015. When asked Monday if he'd be willing to cede personnel control at Lurie's behest, Kelly said: "The owner decides whatever he wants. It's his team; he can do whatever he wants. It's always been that way."

"He's very disappointed," Kelly said Monday of Lurie. "I think we all are. I don't think there's anybody that's excited about the situation right now."

Kelly said then that he would talk to Lurie "after the season just like we always do." But the coach sounded resolute about the team he assembled.

"It didn't go our way, but I don't think we're a bad football team, not by any stretch," Kelly said. "I don't think we need to revamp this entire group of guys because I think we've got some really, really good guys."

They're no longer his guys. Kelly's tenure as Eagles coach lasted 1,077 days, and Lurie didn't even let it last five more. Shurmur will coach the Eagles on Sunday, and then Lurie, Smolenski, and Roseman will conduct their second coaching search in four years.

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

Staff writer Jeff McLane contributed to this article.

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