Though he was a star quarterback and runner in high school, as well as a tough, hard-working hockey player, the 5-foot-9-inch athlete was not imposing at the college level. Back in 2009, his college coach Bill Bowes told Josh Peter of Yahoo Sports that Chip “wasn’t very big, and he didn’t possess the outstanding speed that you’d like to see with a guy of his limited height.” According to Peter, Bowes moved Kelly to defensive back, and he never started a college game. That may be where he learned that “big people beat up little people.”
But he was tough, a trait he has praised in Nick Foles, Jason Peters and Brent Celek, among others. Bowes told Sam Donnellon of the Daily News that Kelly “looked a lot younger than his age. But he was a tough kid, and he would hit you.” And he was relentlessly dedicated to studying film and learning plays.
After graduation, Bowes hired him as an assistant coach.
The experience seems to have taught Chip the value of both the traits he had (toughness, intelligence, grit and dedication) and those he lacked (size and speed).
Kelly never blames referees or weather conditions for his teams’ difficulties. Even when Lane Kiffin’s Trojans were caught red-handed, cheating against Oregon by letting air out of their footballs for easier catching, the coach laughed it off. He’d never brag about that attitude, but this is what he said about LeSean McCoy at a June 19th press conference:
“One thing I love about him is he takes responsibility for everything he does. If he doesn’t have a good day, he doesn’t make excuses about it. He learns from it and moves forward.”
This is part of his old-fashioned stoicism, which coexists paradoxically with his fast-talking, highly articulate rambling at press conferences. But when the subject is serious, he clams up. Kelly bristled when reporters pressed him on why he kept silent about releasing DeSean Jackson.
“I’m not gonna discuss when we release players. I don’t think it’s fair to them. I’ve got a ton of respect for anybody who’s ever played in this league and anybody who’s ever played for us. So to get into specifics about why we released one player or didn’t release another player, that’s … I’m never gonna do that. It’s not my style and not what I’m gonna do.”
There’s a bit of the macho cowboy there. When times are tough, you grit your teeth, pour one out for the fallen, and move on. Keep your disagreements in-house.
Be more likable Chip, you can’t.
It’s a long one but the journey is worth the time to see how this 50-year-old man grew into the NFL head coach he is today. Think about it, we really don’t know anything about the man’s personal life. And you know what? That’s fine. I said this before and on the Barstool Philly Sports Podcast this week, I LOVE the fact Chip isn’t married. The dude eats, sleeps, breaths and fucks football. That’s it. He doesn’t have to worry about taking time out of his day to please a wife or spend hours with the kids. Nope. All of his time and dedication is devoted to the game. And, selfishly, that’s exactly what I want to see out of the man in charge of this team.