Chip Kelly: 'It's an exciting time, a sad time'

Chip Kelly: 'It's an exciting time, a sad time'
January 16, 2013, 10:19 pm
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Chip Kelly said the decision to leave the University of Oregon to become head coach of the Eagles was a difficult one but said hes looking forward to the challenge of coaching in the NFL.

It's a very difficult decision for me," Kelly said Wednesday morning. It took so long to make it just because the people here are special.

Kelly spoke at Mahlon Sweet Airport in rural Lane County outside Eugene, Ore., in an interview with TV station KEZI-TV before his flight to Philadelphia took off.

The challenge obviously is exciting for me, but it's an exciting time and it's a sad time -- saying goodbye to people you love and respect, he said. And I wanted to make sure I talked to my players and did it in the right fashion and talked to our staff. I feel like I did.

The Cessna Citation X private jet chartered by the Eagles was scheduled to arrive at Northeast Philadelphia Airport at about 7:22 p.m. Wednesday. Kelly will meet with the media Thursday afternoon at the NovaCare Complex.

Kelly, one of 11 coaches the Eagles interviewed for their head coaching vacancy, shocked Oregon officials when he changed his mind after initially telling them he was returning to coach the Ducks after meeting with the Browns, Bills and Eagles following the teams Fiesta Bowl win.

Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens released a statement thanking Kelly for his six years of service, the last four as head coach.

I want to thank Chip for his leadership and commitment to building on the Oregon Football foundation of excellence, the statement read.

We have enjoyed incredible success over the past four years. I have great respect for Chip, consider him a friend and wish him the best of luck in the NFL. Oregon Athletics has executed two successful head coach transitions in the past 18 years and each time we continued our ascent. We are focused on identifying a leader who is the right fit to guide Oregon Football.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com