PHILADELPHIA- WTXF - Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie went before reporters Wednesday to explain his decision Tuesday to release head coach Chip Kelly.
Lurie said that he made the move because he determined "a clear and important decision that had to be made." He explained that he made the move now in order to get a head start on the coaching search, while also allowing Kelly opportunities to explore his future. He went on to praise and thank Kelly for his time with the team.
Lurie also debunked rumors that he had given Kelly the opportunity to stay on as coach but give up player-personnel control. He vowed a more "collaborative approach" going forward between coaching and the player personnel department.
The owner listed "a smart strategic thinker," "somebody who interacts very well and communicates clearly with everyone he communicates with" and "understands the passions of the fans" as key criteria for the next head coach, along with attention to detail and a willingness to "open your heart to players and everyone you want to achieve peak performance."
Lurie did not name any candidates for the job and added that no one from the current coaching staff is eliminated from consideration.
"We're going to look at NFL coaches, NFL coordinators, college coaches, retired coaches- any category you can come up with," Lurie said, adding that there will be no bias over whether the coach comes from an offensive or defensive background.
Howie Roseman will remain executive vice president in charge of player personnel, and be "in charge of making sure our player personnel department is as good as it gets in the NFL," but Lurie did not say that Roseman will have final say in player personnel. Tom Donahoe has been named senior director of player personnel.
When asked if the firing was due only to football concerns or other considerations, Lurie answered that "it's one of many factors," Lurie said, although he did not confirm reports that Kelly had "lost the locker room."
He also defended the decision last year to give Kelly personnel powers, in order to "maximize" him.
On the reports that Lurie had a discussion with Demarco Murray on an airplane, Lurie denied that that discussion led to the move, and said that he talks to players on the team plane all the time.
"It's never an easy decision to change head coaches," Lurie said. But because of the team's "mediocre" performance, he decided a change was necessary.
The new coaching hire will be only the third in Lurie's nearly two-decade ownership of the Eagles.