PHILADELPHIA ( - Chip Kelly is back where he belongs, sort of.

The former Eagles coach was hired by ESPN to serve as a college football analyst, predominately for ESPN2 as a studio presence.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”

Kelly was the hottest name on the coaching market when the Eagles convinced him to make the leap from the University of Oregon to the big time in 2013 and Fitting is correct, by definition Kelly was an innovator because he introduced new concepts, both on and off the field, to the often-stodgy NFL.

The early returns were exciting, producing a 10-6 record with a postseason appearance during his first season thanks to a breakneck offense focused on tempo.

Kelly, though, was ultimately a one-trick pony and a slave to his system. His failure to even consider adapting was his undoing as opposing defenses slowly caught up to the tempo trick.

Once he engaged in a power play with Howie Roseman, Kelly lost any insulation he had and didn't even finish his third year as the Eagles' coach and his only one in charge of the entire football operations.

By 2016 he was in San Francisco and things got even worse as Kelly resembled an emperor with no clothes as the 49ers finished 2-14.

His one-and-done disaster in the Bay Area, which featured a franchise-record 13 consecutive losses, assured a third try at the pro level wasn't in the offing, at least immediately and many assumed Kelly would return to college, where is simplified spread beliefs are embraced.

The on-field job offers just weren't there in the NFL, even as a coordinator, and his unemployment came at a time when most of the major college jobs were filled, however, so TV was the best option.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly is also believed to have auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became the 49ers general manager.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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