On Friday, NFL.com said Chip Kelly to the Browns was in the works, and that the two sides were just hammering out the details. Browns fans were happy. The brief Pat Shurmur era wasn't the tonic they had hoped for, and Chip Kelly is one of the biggest names on the coaching market. Unfortunately, big names attract other suitors, and sometimes, those other suitors have a better (or at least longer) sales pitch than the Browns. Enter the Eagles. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports:
The Browns hoped to make Kelly their head coach during a dinner meeting last night, but the Philadelphia Eagles played keep away instead.
By 11 p.m. eastern, Kelly was still meeting with the Eagles, who were trying to sign him to a long-term deal, a league source told the Plain Dealer.
Finally, at about 12:18 a.m., the Eagles emerged from their session with Kelly — after a nine-hour session, according to Adam Caplan of Sirus XM radio. They failed to strike a deal, but Mike Garafolo of USA Today was told it wasn't the end of communication between the Eagles and Kelly.
Question is, will the Browns be able to prevent that follow-up session with the Eagles from happening?
The Browns — represented by owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner — are determined not to let their Duck fly away this time.
Kelly, 49, met with the Bills late Friday night and then began over lunch with the Eagles on Saturday.
But the lunch stretched into the dinner hour, and the Browns were forced to wait and wonder. They had their lawyers on hand, ready to sign Kelly to a multi-year deal to become their 14th full-time head coach.
So, on the day the Browns brought their lawyers to Arizona to sign Chip Kelly—around dinner time, ideally—he met with the Eagles brass from 3 p.m. to just after midnight. Kelly could be merely driving up his bargaining power with the Browns by eating a few meals on the Eagles' dime. If they really did get boxed out, though, Cleveland at least has a few situation-appropriate accessories in storage.
Update 12:53 p.m.: Someone told Peter King the Browns are now out of the equation:
Chip Kelly's going to choose between Oregon and the Eagles, I'm told.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) January 6, 2013