You know that feeling in your gut when you know something really awful is about to happen but you just don’t want to face it? Yeah, that’s what I was going through this morning when I woke up and noticed I had 16 alerts in my Gmail from my Chip Kelly + NFL bookmark. At that point, I did not even need to open the alerts to know that Kelly was gone. In fact, the only unknown factor in that equation was “where to?”
As I was about to click on an article and start reading, my phone went off and almost buzzed off the table from four texts that I received from four different people, one after the other. They were all a variation of “Are you kidding me? Kelly is leaving Oregon for the EAGLES!?!?!?!?”
Before I could reply to a single text, my phone was going off again. For about 15 minutes right after the news came out, all I could do was stare in awe at my phone and the deep, heartfelt reactions rolling in.
It was more than an hour after I’d first heard the news of (now ex-) Coach Kelly’s departure that I had a moment to process and figure out exactly what I was feeling. (It feels strange to write “ex” next to Chip Kelly’s name, but I guess we better get used to it.)
The first and foremost emotion was shock. I thought, as we all did, that we had gotten past the issue of Chip Kelly leaving for the NFL last week and hadn’t even been thinking about it for the past couple of days. To say that this morning’s announcement was a surprise would be a huge understatement.
The second thing that immediately came to mind was recruiting. Oregon’s recruiting class this year was already on the slim side and I wondered how many recruits Oregon was about to lose. As much as I would like to curse out the recruits who have chosen to de-commit, you can’t really blame them. Most of these recruits choose to go to a school based on their relationship with a coach. Even if Kelly wasn’t the guy to personally recruit them, they still knew they’d be playing for him.
All I can say in the end is to thank Coach Kelly for the four amazing years that he gave Oregon. I don’t think Oregon has anything to worry about because whoever the next Oregon head coach is is going to inherit a solid program with solid, experienced players.
On his way to Philadelphia, Coach Kelly talked to KEZI news reporters at airport and said, “It’s a very difficult decision for me. It took so long to make it just because the people here are special. 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, and I wanted to make sure I talked to my players and did it in the right fashion and talked to our staff.”
As a diehard Seahawks fan it is hard to admit, but from now on I will cheer the Eagles on.