Kelly: Mariota staying at Oregon a 'good decision'

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Kelly: Mariota staying at Oregon a 'good decision'

December 4, 2013, 11:45 am
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Marcus Mariota (right) has completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,412 yards, 30 TDs and four interceptions this season. (USA Today Images)

If the Eagles pursue a quarterback in the upcoming 2014 NFL draft, it won’t be Marcus Mariota. The dynamic Oregon Ducks quarterback on Tuesday announced that he’s staying in school for at least another year.

During Wednesday’s press conference at the NovaCare Complex, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly discussed his former quarterback’s decision to return to college next season.

“I’m happy for him,” Kelly said. “I know he comes from a great family. His dad and mom value education. Marcus is going to stay and get his degree. He’s a really special young man. I think everyone in the league is going to have to wait a couple of years.

“I love coaching him. He’s exactly what you want in a football player. I know everyone in Eugene [Oregon] is happy. Eugene is a special place. Take it from a guy who had a real tough time leaving there. I think it’s a good decision.”

Mariota was a Heisman Trophy front-runner for much of the year, and various draft analysts predicted he’d be among the top quarterbacks selected if he left school for the NFL. The redshirt sophomore made the first-team All-Pac-12 for the second straight season. He’s completed 227 of 360 attempts for 3,412 yards, 30 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Per NFL rules, Mariota didn’t consult with Kelly before making his decision.

“We’re not allowed to talk to guys about that," Kelly said. "I had nothing to do with it. They have a great plan in place at Oregon. [Head coach Mark Helfrich] does a great job there, so I’m sure he provided them with everything they needed. But I did not talk to him about any of that stuff.”