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Eagles get their man, hire Oregon's Chip Kelly

PHILADELPHIA -- In the end, Chip Kelly chose the NFL, giving the Eagles their guy.

Philadelphia hired Kelly on Wednesday, just 10 days after he decided to stay at Oregon. The 49-year-old Kelly, known as an offensive innovator, becomes the 21st coach in team history and replaces Andy Reid, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season.

He'll be introduced at a news conference today at 1:30 p.m. at the Eagles' practice facility.

Kelly, who was 46-7 in four years at Oregon, interviewed with the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills in a two-day span after leading the fast-flying No. 2 Ducks to a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.

The Eagles are known to have interviewed 11 candidates, including two meetings with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. All along, Kelly was thought to be Philadelphia's first choice in a long, exhaustive process that took many twists.

"Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles," owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. "He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh energetic approach to our team."

On the day he fired Reid, Lurie appeared to be describing Kelly when he said he wanted to find a "real smart, forward-thinking coach" who is "strategic, a strong leader, very comfortable in his own skin."

The enigmatic Kelly reportedly was close to signing with the Browns after a long interview on Jan. 4. He met with the Eagles for nine hours the next day, setting up a soap-opera scenario in which the Eagles were competing with Browns CEO Joe Banner, their former president and longtime friend of Lurie who left the organization after a falling out.

But that roller coaster ended when Kelly opted to remain -- temporarily -- in Eugene, Ore. At the time, it was the second straight year Kelly had entertained overtures from NFL teams only to reject them. He turned down Tampa Bay's job deep into negotiations last season.

The Eagles interviewed two other high-profile college coaches -- Penn State's Bill O'Brien and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly. Both of them elected to stay with their schools and Philadelphia issued a statement saying it would continue its search as planned.

Bradley was considered by many to be the leading contender, though former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt and former Ravens coach Brian Billick were in the mix.Bears hire CFL

coach Trestman

to replace SmithCHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears hired Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman on Wednesday to replace the fired Lovie Smith and gave him two basic tasks -- fix the offense and lead the team to the playoffs on a consistent basis.

How he meshes with quarterback Jay Cutler could go a long way toward determining his success.

It's the first head coaching job in the NFL for Trestman, a longtime assistant in the league who spent the past five seasons coaching the CFL's Alouettes and led them to two Grey Cup titles. Trestman was an offensive coordinator with Cleveland, San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland.

Chicago general manager Phil Emery cast a wide net in his search, meeting with at least 13 candidates. Besides Trestman, he also brought back Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and the Indianapolis Colts' Bruce Arians for second interviews.

Trestman wasted little time starting to assemble his staff.

A person familiar with the situation said the Bears hired New Orleans Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer as their offensive coordinator, hoping to revive a unit that often sputtered with Mike Tice calling the plays. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced.Ravens' Lewis

dominating as

retirement loomsOWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Ray Lewis sure doesn't look like an aging linebacker on the brink of retirement.

With 30 tackles in his last two games, the Baltimore Ravens defensive leader appears as if he could play at a high level for several more years.

That's not going to happen. In spite of his standout performance this month and the pleasure he's derived from Baltimore's run to the AFC championship game, Lewis remains adamant that he will retire after the Ravens complete their postseason journey.

"No, I can't come back," Lewis said Wednesday. "My kids are calling for Daddy. It's a great reward to see the sacrifice my babies have made for me, and it's time that I sacrificed for them."

The 37-year-old Lewis announced on Jan. 2 that he would retire after Baltimore's playoff run is completed. Since that time, he's provided his teammates with inspiration in the locker room and magnificent play on the field.

After being sidelined for 12 weeks with a torn right triceps, Lewis reclaimed his customary position in the middle of the Baltimore defense two weeks ago. Wearing a cumbersome brace on his right arm, Lewis led the Ravens with 13 tackles in a 24-9 playoff win over Indianapolis.

As an encore, Lewis had a team-high 17 tackles last week in a 38-35 double-overtime victory over Denver.

"He's a guy that still plays the game at a high level," Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones said. "You would think he was 21, 22, watching him out there, flying around, making plays. Why not play hard for a guy like that? It makes you so (confident) on defense that you have a guy behind you that's a stud, that's going to make such a huge play and can make so many plays."

With Lewis leading the way, Baltimore (12-6) will head to New England (13-4) this Sunday night for a chance to advance to the Super Bowl.

"He definitely can play multiple more years, but I think he understands that it's time to move on," defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. "It's just great to see him play at a level that I don't think a lot of linebackers can be doing now. I'm just humbled and definitely lucky, I guess, to play with someone like that."