Chip Kelly arrives in Philly, jokes about Santa

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Chip Kelly arrives in Philly, jokes about Santa

Chip Kellys first exposure to Eagles fans was getting word Wednesday that numerous fans were tracking his flight across the country, thanks to a certain CSNPhilly.com Eagles writer tweeting out the link to flightaware.com that showed in real time the progress of his charter flight from Eugene to Philly.

Welcome to town, Chip.

I know there's a rabid fan base here, which is good, Kelly said. I got a text on the plane that I was getting tracked like Santa Claus, which was flattering, until I remembered that the Philly fans booed Santa Claus. So I hope they don't boo me."
Rabid? This is rabid: From 3 p.m. through 7 p.m., more than 1,100 people clicked on that flightaware link after it was tweeted out by a CSNPhilly.com writer.
That's more than a thousand people who decided to follow a computerized airplane blip moving slowly across a map of the United States.

I'm just excited to be here," Kelly said. "It's an exciting time and I'm ready to get to work."

Kelly, hired earlier in the day as head coach of the Eagles (see story), spoke briefly to reporters Wednesday evening at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, moments after his flight from Eugene landed.
When he was done, he and General Manager Howie Roseman gave out Eagles caps to about two dozen fans who gathered outside the terminal in support of the new coach.

One day earlier, Kelly wasnt even a candidate to replace fired head coach Andy Reid. By Wednesday evening, he was handing out Eagles gear to fans in Northeast Philly.

Kelly, who interviewed with the Eagles on Jan. 5, announced one day later that he was returning to coach at the University of Oregon.

At some point in the last couple days, he changed his mind.

Kelly was asked standing near the corner of Grant and Academy before riding down to the NovaCare Complex when he was asked what the Eagles did to change his mind.

They didn't, he said. I was sold on the Eagles the first time I met them. It was my ties to Oregon is what it was. It was a people deal.

I have great players there, unbelievable coaching staff and that's what made it hard, because it was a human decision. But the Eagles, I mean the Eagles are the Eagles. This is the NFL.

Kelly spent the last six years in Eugene, the last four as head coach after two years as offensive coordinator.

It was really tough to leave, he said. I left a special, special place. That's what probably took me so long to make a decision.

The challenge is what I was excited about. That's why I came. It's a great city. It's an iconic franchise. It's got an unbelievable owner Jeff Lurie. But I left some great people back at Oregon and that was the tough part."

Kelly is the first person to coach the Eagles with no NFL playing or coaching experience since Bert Bell in 1936.

"My dream is to just win, and this was the best opportunity for me to win, he said. I never thought a long time ago that I was going to be a coach in the NFL, but I'm excited about the opportunity.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com.

P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

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P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

Thirty-five years is more than enough time to get a sense of who a person is and how they do their job. That is how long Brett Brown has known P.J. Carlesimo, which made it easy for the Sixers' head coach to have interest in adding him to the staff. 

With Mike D’Antoni leaving to coach the Rockets, the Sixers had a vacancy at the associate head coach position. On Sunday, though, Carlesimo decided not to join the Sixers’ staff and remain a television analyst.

“He was a natural fit for me,” Brown said Monday following a pre-draft workout. “For family reasons, he just couldn’t do it. We talked a lot and it was an emotional thing from P.J.’s perspective. 

“P.J. is a very close friend of mine and he made that decision for family reasons and I understand it. The phone call really didn’t surprise me knowing what I know of him and how he views his family, having to travel across the country the whole time.”

Like D’Antoni, Carlesimo has a lengthy résumé on the NBA sidelines. He was a head coach for parts of nine seasons and worked five as an assistant coach. Brown called working with D’Antoni “a real learning experience,” and an ideal candidate would have similar experience to help both the staff and the young roster.

“That role will be filled with maybe that type of flavor,” Brown said. “I know this, we are still in a complete development mode. We still have a bunch of 20 year olds, guys that could be with us for a long time, but they’re not old, that we have to make sure that the city and me, we remember that. We still need people and teachers that can teach and coach and establish relationships. 

“So you tick boxes on relationships, teaching, development, those still rule the day. If you can do that with some veteran wisdom and some type of experiences like Mike’s, say, or P.J. had, well then you’re really knocking it out of the park.”

Coaching vacancies are coveted at this level. With the No. 1 pick in the draft, a revamped front office, and a 125,000-square foot training facility under construction, the Sixers have enhanced the appeal of the role. 

"My phone is very active, as you can imagine," Brown said. "I think it’s a highly attractive position. … Like our draft picks, I too spend a lot of time studying who will be the best fit for me and our program."

Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

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Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

So much for trimming Ryan Howard's playing time.

One day after Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he plans on giving 24-year-old Tommy Joseph more starts against right-handed pitchers, Mackanin flipped the switch Monday.

Howard is penciled in as the starting first baseman for the Phils' series-opener against the Nationals on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park against Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71).

After the Phillies were clobbered by the MLB-best Chicago Cubs on Sunday — and the weekend, really — Mackanin said the Phils have to get a longer look at Joseph.

"We brought up Joseph up here for a reason, to get a look at him," the manager said after the Phillies' 7-2 on Sunday afternoon (see story). "I can't let him stagnate on the bench like (Darin) Ruf ended up doing, so he's going to face some right-handed pitchers to keep his timing."

Joseph will have to wait another day to get in the lineup. To be fair, Joseph did face five righties last week, but three of those came with the designated hitter in play.

For Howard, however, the club icon is in a major rut that has had many outsiders calling for him to retire or for the team to release him. He's hitting .154 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 136 at-bats and is 6 for 62 (.097) with 25 strikeouts in May.

Here's the silver lining, however. Howard is a career .333 hitter in 12 at-bats against Roark, who he's taken deep once and has six RBIs against.

The Phillies turn to Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97) to snap their three-game skid. He's faced the Nationals twice this season, allowing six — five earned — runs over 10⅓ innings.

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Carlos Ruiz, C
6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Jeremy Hellickson, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

For more on tonight's game, check out Steven Tyding's game notes.

MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

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MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York's captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

White Sox: Shuck called up with Jackson injured
NEW YORK -- With Austin Jackson bothered by turf toe, the Chicago White Sox recalled outfielder J.B. Shuck from Charlotte and optioned right-hander Tommy Kahnle to the Triple-A farm team.

Jackson left Sunday's game in the eighth inning because of his left foot.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Monday's series opener against the New York Mets that he doesn't think Jackson's injury at this point merits a move to the disabled list. He adds that the team does not "necessarily want to lose him for two weeks right away."

Shuck was batting fifth and playing center field Monday. He was 0 for 9 with the White Sox before he was sent down April 18 when Chicago needed to add a pitcher. He is hitting .299 at Charlotte with two homers and 17 RBIs.

Kahnle is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four games over three stints with Chicago this season.