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. Kelly, known as an offensive innovator, replaces Andy Reid, who was fired Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season.
Kelly, 46-7 in four years at Oregon, interviewed with the Eagles, Cleveland and Buffalo in a two-day span after leading the Ducks to a win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.
Kelly, 49, ended a whirlwind day by boarding a plane in Eugene, Ore., headed for Philadelphia, at 12:30 p.m. PST. When he arrived at Philadelphia International Airport, shortly after 4 p.m., he quickly saw a glimpse of what this team means to this city. Not only were general manager Howie Roseman and president Don Smolenski waiting for him on the runway -- they arrived with a police escort -- there were fans on hand, as well.
"The challenge is what I was excited about and that's why I came," Kelly told a group of reporters upon landing. "I was sold on the Eagles the first time I met them; it was my ties to Oregon that made it hard. But the Eagles are the Eagles. This is the NFL.
"My dream is to just win, and with the Eagles, this was the best opportunity for me to win."
The Eagles are known to have interviewed 11 candidates. All along, Kelly was thought to be Philadelphia's first choice.
"Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles," owner Jeffrey Lurie said
Ducks athletic director Rob Mullens said Kelly called him at 7:15 a.m. to tell him he had changed his mind: "He wasn't sure if that opportunity would present itself again, so he felt this was the right one at the right time."
Mullens now faces a coaching search amid recruiting season.
"I've turned the page," Mullens said. "My focus is on moving forward and that's what we're doing."
A source said offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich was still considered the "front-runner" to replace Kelly. Mullens acknowledged there were internal candidates, but there was no "leader in the clubhouse."
Bears: Chicago hired Montreal Alouettes coach Marc Trestman 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.
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 the 49ers, Raiders, Cleveland and Arizona.
Trestman, who'll be introduced Thursday, wasted little time starting to assemble his staff, hiring New Orleans offensive line coach Aaron Kromer as offensive coordinator and Dallas' Joe DeCamillis as assistant head coach/special teams coordinator.
Cardinals: Arizona, one of two NFL teams still looking for a coach, has interviewed Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and plans to talk to Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.
Chiefs: New coach Andy Reid hired former Jacksonville offensive line coach Andy Heck to fulfill the same duty with Kansas City. Reid also hired Kevin O'Dea as assistant special teams coach.
Bills: Buffalo signed tight end Joe Sawyer to a reserve/future contract. Sawyer, undrafted out of Snow College, signed with the 49ers last offseason before being released before the start of the regular season.
Pro Bowl: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will replace Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (knee and ankle issues) on the NFC roster.