Chip Kelly, who was likely offered the Eagles head coaching job on Saturday night, has decided to return for a fifth season as head football coach at the University of Oregon, a league source told CSNPhilly.com late Sunday evening.
Kelly, who began the weekend as the top candidate for head coaching vacancies with both the Browns and Eagles, met throughout the day Saturday with Eagles brass in Phoenix after meeting with the Browns on Friday.
He was scheduled to meet after his Eagles interview with the Browns for a second time, but that never took place because of the length of the Eagles interview with Kelly.
At some point either Saturday night or Sunday morning, Kelly either removed himself from consideration from the Browns opening or the Browns decided to move in a different direction.
The Eagles and Browns had both identified Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone as a candidate, but while both teams were trying to coax Kelly from Oregon to the NFL, the Bills hired Marrone as their head coach.
Early Sunday morning, the Eagles search committee owner Jeff Lurie, president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman flew from Phoenix to Denver to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, still not knowing whether Kelly would return to Eugene or accept their job offer. That meeting with McCoy began at 4 p.m. EST.
Adding intrigue to the process is the fractured relationship between Lurie and Browns President Joe Banner, Luries boyhood friend, first hire when he joined the Eagles 18 years ago and top executive here until his ouster in June.
This is the second January in a row that Kelly has interviewed for an NFL position, only to return to Oregon, where his teams have gone 36-4 the last three years.
Last year, he interviewed with the Buccaneers and was offered their head coaching position before he removed himself from consideration. The Bucs wound up hiring another college coach, Greg Schiano of Rutgers.
The Eagles have interviewed two college coaches during their search to replace Andy Reid, and both Penn States Bill OBrien and Kelly have elected to return to their college position.
The Eagles have also interiewed Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong, who satisfied the leagues Rooney Rule requirement for teams to interiew at least one minority candidate.
The team has also announced plans to interview Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, whose teams were scheduled to play on Sunday. Arians was not with the Colts Sunday as he recovered at a local hospital from an ear infection.