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Day 1 at the combine: Eagles coach Chip Kelly says deal with Browns was never close


INDIANAPOLIS – Eagles coach Chip Kelly refuted reports from last month that he was ever close to a deal to become the Browns coach.

“Erroneous,” Kelly said this afternoon at the scouting combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Kelly reportedly met with the Browns for seven hours Jan. 11. ESPN cited sources who described the meeting as “very positive” and multiple reports said the sides were “close” to a deal.

But Kelly kept meetings with the Bills and Eagles, before appearing set to return to the University of Oregon. He later reversed course and took the Eagles job.

He reiterated today his decision came down to staying with the Ducks or leaving for Philadelphia – and the Browns weren’t a finalist.

“It wasn’t an elimination or anything, I just thought Philadelphia was the best fit,” Kelly said. “I was really excited when I met Howie (Roseman, GM) and (owner) Jeff Lurie and Don (Smolenski, president) and the group of people there. It was the right fit for me and that’s what I felt.

“So my decision ended up being, ‘Am I going to stay with a bunch of players that I love coaching and had a tremendous amount of success (with), but if I was going to go anywhere, it was going to be Philadelphia.”

Kelly surprisded many by hiring fired Browns coach Pat Shurmur as his offensive coordinator. Kelly ran a hurry-up, zone-read option at Oregon, while Shurmur has spent his pro career in the West Coast Offense.

“I didn’t know Pat before,” Kelly said. “We seemed to hit it off right away. Extremely intelligent, well thought-out, very detail-oriented. We have a lot of similar philosophies in the passing game and the running game.

“There were a lot of really qualified candidates, but it just seemed like we clicked right away when I got a chance to meet him. The fact he had been a head coach, to have a guy in the office right next door to be able to run things by, ‘Has this ever come up when you were sitting in that chair?’ He’s been fantastic.”

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