No one likes Chip Kelly and Eagles fans don’t care. That seems to be the stench wafting out from Southern California right now as it relates to the former Eagles coach.
Kelly, who took the head job at UCLA in 2018, has been having a tough go of it in what could be his final chance at any level of organized football. UCLA went a disappointing 3-9 last year and there are already rumblings that Kelly’s methods are rubbing people in the program the wrong way. He’s already been ripped by his starting quarterback’s father.
One anonymous player told Inside The Team that “no one likes him but everybody is scared to stand up. He lies and has no player relationship.” It seems to be a mirror image of his failed experiment with the Eagles. The Los Angeles Times rehashed some of the same bizarre behavioral patterns that made him flame out in previous stops, including refusing to do media interviews and treating his players as nameless entities.
“I don’t think Chip and I ever had a conversation about his personal life in the three years that we worked together,” Mike Bellotti, his former boss at Oregon, told the LA Times.
Kelly’s ultimate downfall in Philadelphia came in January 2015 when Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie gave him the keys to the personnel department, shifting Howie Roseman to the other end of the building. Kelly had been winning football games, even made the playoffs in his first season, but his managerial eye was crude.
In retrospect, Lurie called the move one of his biggest regrets.
“I don’t regret the hiring because it was done with a really good thought process,” Lurie told The Athletic. “But, yes, I would say I regret giving him the kind of authority I gave him. Yeah, that’s an easy one.”
Immediately, he torched the Eagles’ talented roster and let star players like DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy exit for pennies on the dollar. “I got a lot of love for Philadelphia now that the little short coach is with the kids where he belongs,” McCoy said.
Kelly also had a falling out with quarterback Michael Vick who admitted to breaking out in tears before a preseason game after finding out he had to compete for a starting job. No one was safe from Kelly’s reign of terror, according to the Simms & Lefkoe podcast.
Jackson believed they could have won a Super Bowl together if he hadn’t torn the “Dream Team” apart. All three players disdain Kelly to this day, and they’ll probably never forgive him.
Four years and two stops later — Kelly spent 2016 leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 2-14 record — history appears to be repeating. His UCLA squad has been consistently underwhelming and there isn’t much hope on the horizon. College football guru Bill Connelly is predicting the Bruins to go 3-9 this season.
There’s no love lost for Kelly back in Philadelphia, a city that rallied around the coach when he first took the reins. There was so much hope, so much promise. Then, he squandered all that goodwill and got kicked to the curb.
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