Why Chip Kelly wanted Eagles camp in South Philly

Why Chip Kelly wanted Eagles camp in South Philly
March 20, 2013, 6:15 pm
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PHOENIX -- Chip Kelly said he mulled the idea of holding Eagles training camp at Lehigh, the team’s annual camp home for the past 17 years.

In the end, he liked the home facilities in South Philly better.

Although the Eagles have said the decision to conduct training camp this year at Lincoln Financial Field and the NovaCare Complex wasn’t Kelly’s alone to make and deemed the move an “organizational decision,” the Eagles’ new head coach said his practices can be run more efficiently without the travel and location change.

“I like the fact that we’re there, because we’re there all year long. There’s not a transition,” he said Wednesday from the Arizona Biltmore. “You’re not moving, picking things up, going somewhere, and then turn around and coming back.

“Part of what I always wanted to do is get our guys in a rhythm of, ‘This is how we do things.’ The only thing that changes is the schedule starts to change, but we’re in the same spot. I think there’s a comfort level from being in the same spot.

“The other thing that was amazing to me is when you see that building and what it can provide to our players, from a rehabilitation standpoint, our weight room, video, all those other things are right there.”

The Eagles became the 21st team to keep camp at home so they can’t be accused of reinventing the wheel. They plan to have four or five practices open to the public at the Linc and several others for credentialed invitees at the NovaCare Complex, but the number of practices that fans can watch will be fewer.

Former Eagles coach Andy Reid, who was a proponent of going away for camp, said on Tuesday that he hadn’t given much thought to opting out of the contract between the Eagles and Lehigh as his years went on, but Reid said he could see positives in keeping camp in Philly.

“I enjoyed going away, but I can see the plusses in staying,” he said. “At that time, I enjoyed getting out and going up there. Everyone's got their own way of doing it.

“Chip is going to put his own mark on things. I think he'll be very good. He's a good football coach. He knows what he wants, and he knows how to go about it, and the way he wants to do it."
Kelly’s practices at Oregon were often closed to the media and fans, but it’s unknown if he will scale down his public practices this summer. Per NFL rule, all camp practices through the first two weeks of the preseason must be open to the media.

Kelly seemed to suggest that the exposure of coaching in the NFL wouldn’t allow for the secrecy he maintained at Oregon.

“No, not in this league,” he said. “You got microphones everywhere you go and cameras everywhere you go. It’s a different league, different set of rules. You adapt to the league you’re in.”

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