Chip Kelly's choices down to two: Eagles or Oregon
The Eagles' interview with Chip Kelly lasted approximately nine hours and extended well into Saturday night, but there was no resolution on whether he would select the Birds, Browns or stay at Oregon, a source close to the situation said.
The team confirmed the meeting on Sunday morning and said that owner Jeffrey Lurie and company were on their way to Denver to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. The Browns also left Arizona without an answer from Kelly, and were flying back to Cleveland.
But it appeared that the Browns have taken themselves out of the chase for Kelly. ESPN reported that they were going back to Cleveland to reboot their coaching search without Kelly in their plans.
That would conceivably leave Kelly's choices down to two -- the Eagles or Oregon. Sports Illustrated reported that that was indeed the case. The Eagles have not commented on whether they have made an offer to Kelly, but their interest in the Oregon coach has been no secret.
Kelly, 49, has been at the top of the Eagles' list, NFL sources have told the Inquirer for weeks. The team's interest was likely verified by Saturday's long meeting.
Kelly met with the Browns and Bills on Friday, although Buffalo was never considered a serious contender. The Eagles flew to Phoenx, Ariz. to meet with the Oregon coach a day later. There were reports on Friday that the Browns were close to landing Kelly, but an NFL source said that he would not make a decision until after he had gone through all three promised interviews.
The Browns, too, had narrowed their sights on Kelly. It set up a showdown between Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and his long-time friend and former Eagles president Joe Banner. One can only imagine the stops each pulled to get Kelly to be their next head coach.
Both teams lost another potential candidate when Syracuse coach Doug Marrone signed with the Bills early Sunday morning, according to ESPN. The Eagles were scheduled to interview Marrone on Sunday. He already met with the Browns.
The Eagles and Browns were also after Bill O'Brien. They both interviewed the Penn State coach last week but he ultimately decided to stay in State College.
The Eagles have also interviewed Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.
Aside from the McCoy interview, the Eagles have requested and been granted permission to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley following their Sunday playoff games.
The Eagles have also requested to interview Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, but have yet to receive permission.
The Browns have also interviewed Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt.
The Browns were reportedly scheduled to have dinner with Kelly after he had lunch with the Eagles on Saturday, but it was unclear if they ever met.