What began as a typical ( off-season ) morning workout for Oregon’s football team Wednesday morning, ended as a tearful goodbye from those same players to their former head coach.
After accepting the head coaching position with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly made an impromptu visit to his teams volunteer workout in the Moshofsky Center early Wednesday to personally inform them he was leaving Oregon and headed to the NFL.
In this age of finding the next best job and leaving under the veil of darkness, Kelly did the opposite and faced his former team head on to notify them of his plans to coach in Philadelphia.
Remember Bobby Petrino when he coached the Atlanta Falcons before taking the job at Arkansas? Reports surfaced Petrino informed his players he was leaving by posting a letter inside each players locker on their day off.
A classy move.
In case you forgot, this was Patrino’s resignation letter.
“Out of my respect for you, I am letting you know that, with a heavy heart, I resigned today as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. This decision was not easy, but it was made in the best interest of me and my family. While my desire would have been to finish out what has been a difficult season for us all, circumstances did not allow me to do so. I appreciate your hard work and wish you the best.
Sincerely, Bobby Petrino.”
While Falcon fans still hold a dark space in their hearts for the man who left their team high and dry, Oregon fans should feel grateful Chip Kelly did the honorable thing and faced his team under very difficult circumstances.
Needless to say, Kelly has never publicly shown his emotional side, however according to Oregon ( Soph. ) center Hroniss Grasu, the hour long meeting was extremely emotional as Kelly spoke with his team to say goodbye.
“He addressed the team that he was going to Philadelphia” said Grasu in an impromptu press conference Wednesday afternoon. “We understood him because everyone has a dream to be in the NFL and he had the opportunity right in front of him and it was to good for him to pass up. We really respect him for telling us before telling anybody else.”
While Grasu and his teammates understood Kelly’s decision to leave for the NFL, the news did come as a surprise especially after hearing Kelly initially spurned the NFL to return to coach the Ducks in 2013.
“Obviously everyone was surprised” explained Grasu. ”I don’t think there’s no one that wasn’t surprised.”
After the dust settled and as Kelly prepared to leave for the Eugene airport to board the private jet for Philadelphia, Grasu said Kelly hugged everyone of his players and shared private words with each.
“Ever since I’ve been here every single day, he’s always teaching us something about not just football but about life” said Grasu.
“He’s made us all into a better person,…since I’ve been here he’s made me into a better person. He just told us what we’ve got to do,…the leaders on this team,… don’t let this journey stop going,…just keep it going.”
( Watch Hroniss Grasu’s interview by clicking the video box above )