Chip Kelly Has Eagles and Browns Executives in War of Words

Chip KellyChip Kelly has been a hot commodity the past couple of weeks. So hot, in fact, that he may be breaking up a lifelong friendship.

After an NFL season that ended with a surplus of vacant head coaching positions, Kelly, one of the most successful college coaches, was highly sought after. The Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns both had their sights set on the former Oregon head coach before the Eagles eventually won out, but this past Monday, things got ugly.

NFL reporter Jason LaConfora of CBSSports.com referenced an anonymous source who harshly criticized Eagles GM Howie Roseman in one of his stories this week. The source described Roseman as “drunk with power” and “woefully out of his depth.”

According to Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Eagles, those statements can be attributed to one of his boyhood friends, his top executive for 19 years in Philadelphia, and now the CEO of the Browns, Joe Banner. Many believe that these statements were made in hopes of deterring potential head coaches away from the Eagles.

Banner released a statement after hearing these claims and denied any involvement with the La Canfora story.

“It is always difficult to comment on a quote that may or may not be accurate or in context,” Banner said. “In this case, from the comments which Jeffrey made that were communicated to me, it is necessary for me to make this clear, unambiguous statement. Any implication that I had anything to do with Jason La Canfora’s story is completely false, outrageous and borders on being libelous.

“I had absolutely no conversation with Jason La Canfora. Having demonstrated my character over the last 44 years to Jeffrey and the last 14 to Howie, it is beyond disappointing that they would suggest such a thing. As tempting as it is to go further, other than defending myself, I will continue to take the high road on all such matters as I have since the day I left the Eagles.”

Much to the dismay of the Browns’ front office, Kelly was named the head coach of the Eagles on Wednesday. Kelly will still have to prove that he belongs in the NFL, but by already creating this much drama between executives and friends, it certainly seems likes there are many who believe he will be just as successful in the big leagues.