Bill Belichick voices strong support for Chip Kelly
Dec. 31, 2015
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Consider Bill Belichick one of Chip Kelly's strongest supporters.
The four-time Super Bowl champion called Kelly's firing by the Philadelphia Eagles "really disappointing" and praised his coaching skills.
Kelly was dismissed Tuesday with one game remaining in an underwhelming season. The Eagles are 6-9 after going 10-6 in each of Kelly's first two seasons and winning one division title.
Kelly and the Eagles pulled off a stunning upset over Belichick's Patriots earlier this month. They rallied from a 14-0 deficit for a 35-28 win at New England.
"Chip is a great coach," Belichick said Thursday. "He'll end up somewhere and he'll do a great job there."
Belichick didn't think the Eagles gave Kelly enough time.
"I don't know how you build a program in one year," he said. "You have to change the culture. ... It takes some time to go through that. I don't think there is any shortcut to it. I know there are a lot of other people in the league that think there is, that after two weeks all of a sudden everything is going to change dramatically, but I'm not really part of that, I don't buy into that."
Kelly made several bold moves and traded, released or didn't re-sign five offensive players who went to the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons. Nick Foles ended up benched in St. Louis, and LeSean McCoy had a down year in Buffalo, but DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin played key roles on playoff teams.
"I'd say a lot of the players that were on the Eagles that are no longer on the Eagles aren't really doing too much for anybody else, either," Belichick said.
Kelly has received plenty of support from his coaching fraternity. Rex Ryan and Tom Coughlin also praised him. The Eagles beat both the Bills and Giants this season.
"I know Chip's an excellent football coach and I really like him," Ryan said. "I think he's a good guy and I think some of the things he does, his forward-thinking, the way he handles practices and things like that; I've tried to incorporate some of it, maybe not all of it, but some of the things, some of his ideas. So he's a guy that I respect and I think he's a good guy, and he's a really good football coach."
Coughlin, a two-time Super Bowl champ, would've coached against Kelly on Sunday when the Eagles and Giants finish their season. Coughlin's future also is uncertain after New York missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
"I'm not surprised by anything in this business, but that one was close," Coughlin said.
AP Sports Writers Jimmy Golen, John Wawrow and Tom Canavan contributed to this report.
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