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Glimpse Into Chip Kelly's World

Posted Jan 19, 2013

If first impressions mean anything, then Chip Kelly's "It" factor is going to be a powerful tool in a city that lives for the every move made by the Philadelphia Eagles ...

Saturday morning was an example of what is important to Chip Kelly. He and general manager Howie Roseman took some time to walk over to the indoor practice facility at the NovaCare Complex where the Arena League's Philadelphia Soul had an open tryout that attracted more than 200 hopefuls.

Kelly and Roseman wanted to stop by and say hello to team owner Ron Jaworski and the Soul's staff, as well as to get a glimpse of the goings on. It took a grand total of maybe 20 minutes, but, boy, did it mean something to those who were there, a group that included current Eagle Jeremy Maclin and former Eagles Hollis Thomas, Vince Papale, Barrett Brooks and Ken Dunek.

"He's refreshing," said Jaworski. "I love Andy Reid, but I think near the end it was a little bit depressing. I think there was a little bit of a loss of focus from Andy Reid. The team wasn't doing well and I think a new look was needed. Chip Kelly was that new look.

"My opinion is that it's been refreshing. The people I talk to on the streets and in my work with ESPN is that it's exciting. Chip brings great energy to the staff and to this football team."

Understand that this happened at 10 a.m. and that Kelly was well into his work day long before then. He is a football junkie, a "brilliant football mind" says Jaworski, and a Chief Executive Officer who oversees the entire operation.

Kelly is busy putting his coaching staff together -- there is nothing official to date, but stay tuned -- visiting with the current Eagles roster, strategizing on the week ahead at the Senior Bowl practices and, at the same time, learning the ins and outs of the unique football city of Philadelphia.

He visited the open tryouts for the Soul to say hello to Jaworski, whom Kelly knows is a great Eagle from the past, and to get a whiff of football.

"I think that's huge," said Kelly of meeting Eagles alumni. "There's such a tradition. That's one of the things that attracts you about coming here. The history of the Philadelphia Eagles is absolutely amazing and when you get a chance to see a Brian Dawkins or Jaws, I saw Brian Westbrook, I saw Mike Mamula (who Kelly has known since Mamula's high school days) the other day ... that tradition is something that I will make sure our players and our coaches truly understand and really lean on those guys about what it's like to be an Eagle and what it's like to live in Philadelphia."

What it's like to live in Philadelphia is to dream of making it big and of taking advantage of the chance when it's presented. The indoor practice facility was packed on Saturday morning, something Kelly noticed.

"It's pretty cool. That's what's great about football. Everybody loves it and it's a great sport where there is a spot for people. How much are you willing to give and how much do you have in you?" said Kelly. "That's why I love football. This is awesome to see things like this."

From the football side of things, Kelly said that his meeting with quarterback Michael Vick was "good. It was a good sitdown. I've met with almost everybody who is in town (center Jason) Kelce, Maclin, Jason Avant, (Brent) Celek, he's been in. Some of the guys are away so I'm reaching out to them on the phone. I'm trying to get to everybody by (the end of) this weekend."

When pressed more about Vick and how he might fit into the offense, Kelly offered praise.

"My offense is any offense when we have a quarterback that's productive. I think Michael has a lot of physical tools," said Kelly.

We're learning -- and loving -- as we go with Chip Kelly. He's a tremendously hard worker who has great enthusiasm, an infectious personality and an intense focus. He's in it to win it with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In the early stages, of course, there are few answers. The coaching staff is being constructed as we speak. Evaluations on the roster are forthcoming. Schemes are yet to be unveiled.

But Kelly sure has been a hit everywhere he's gone and with everyone who is talking about the Eagles. He's a rock star here, with an aura the winners carry with them.

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