January 18, 2013
Former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was introduced as the new man in charge of the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. This comes as a surprise for many(including myself) because a week ago it was reported Kelly would remain at the school. Kelly’s sudden departure from Oregon also has people very upset. In fact, people are comparing the way Kelly left to, dare I say it, the way Miami Heat forward LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to reside in south Florida in the summer of 2010. Now we all know there are people out there who will never be able to forget how James handled his free-agency situation, especially how he held his hour-long decision show and the victory parade(before a game was even played) he was part of with fellow free-agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh upon arrival in Miami. Those same people can’t forget how James sat down and said the Heat will win not five, not six, not seven….championships while they’re all in a Heat uniform. Bottom line, James caught a lot of venom from a lot of people for the way he handled that situation. When you look at the way Kelly left Oregon, you can make a argument this was actually worse than how James left Cleveland, and here’s why. We always criticize the way James left and how he handled his period in free-agency, but the one thing we can’t say is James never said outright he would return to Cleveland. In all of the interviews we have seen featuring James, he always kept that option of leaving, saying he would like to return to Cleveland, but he would keep every option open. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning championships, and James didn’t see that happening in Cleveland. So really can’t blame him for leaving, you just wish he handled it better. As for Kelly, he actually said he would remain at the school and changed his mind a week later. A report even came out he was on recruiting visits just a few days before he decided to leave. I understand people change their minds, and money probably has a lot to do with that, but come on. If there are any second thoughts, just admit as much. Kelly could have said he still has some lingering thoughts about becoming the coach of the Eagles, and it would have been seen as okay because at least he was honest about his feelings. When you come out and say you’re going to do something only to do the exact opposite, you’re now playing with other people’s feelings, and that’s something you don’t want to do. If you’re asking me how I feel about this situation, I would say Kelly did handle this worse than James handled his situation. Taking the Eagles job is not the issue, it’s the way he handled the situation. The only good thing I can say about Kelly leaving is at least he actually talked to the Oregon football players before he left. A good number of coaches just leave for “greener pastures” and don’t say a word to the players he looked after for a while. Other than that, I would have to give Kelly an “F” for the way this was handled.
By Charles Taylor