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USA Today: Chip Kelly close to deal with Browns

7:09 PM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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From USA Today

It wasn't quite as fast as Oregon's first touchdown in Thursday night's Fiesta Bowl, but it was fast no less.

Chip Kelly is on the verge of agreeing to become the Cleveland Browns' new head coach, according to a report by NFL.com.

Kelly was scheduled to meet with the Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills. It was clear the Browns were going to make a strong push, but if they're able to close the deal before Philly and Buffalo can even sit down across from Kelly, that would be quite the coup for a franchise looking to reinvent itself.

New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner are clearly enamored with Kelly's schemes that helped lead Oregon to a 46-7 record during his four-year tenure. There surely will be some tinkering with his offense, though the New England Patriots have run snippets of his up-tempo approach, and read-option looks have made their way to the NFL level over the past few seasons.

If Kelly indeed signs with the Browns, it means Banner won a face-off with his former employer, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.

The Eagles are now in a delicate spot, because Kelly, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Penn State's Bill O'Brien were among their top candidates. Koetter chose to remain with the Falcons, while O'Brien said Thursday night he will return to Happy Valley. The Eagles had met with O'Brien earlier in the day.

The Eagles will interview Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley next week after their teams play their first playoff game. They've already interviewed Falcons' special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

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