PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie addressed the media on Wednesday afternoon to discuss his decision to fire head coach Chip Kelly.
“I look forward to watching Chip succeed wherever he goes, because I think he really will,” Lurie began. “But I also look forward to a real improvement in where we’re headed and very much look forward to the 2016 season where we’ll have an opportunity with a new head — new leadership — the opportunity for the players, the organization, and everybody involved to perform up to their maximum.”READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Winter Weather Advisory In Effect For Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley As Snow Moves In
While Kelly still had two years left on his contract, Lurie says this was a three-year evaluation process.
“This was really a three-year evaluation of where we’re heading, what is the trajectory, what is the progress — or lack thereof — and what did I anticipate for the foreseeable future.
“Making significant changes, you can easily achieve mediocrity,” Lurie said. “I think it would be a shame not to try, but the end result was mediocrity. And as the owner of the team I’ve got to look at the progress and trajectory of where it’s headed. And it’s disappointing to me, but that is the danger when you take a risk.”
Lurie, who says he never offered Kelly the opportunity to remain as Eagles head coach without personnel power, explained the three reasons he released the 26-21 head coach before the team’s regular season finale.READ MORE: Eagles Fans At McGillin's Old Ale House Disappointed In 'Embarrassing' Loss To Buccaneers
“One, I wanted to get a jump start on our head coaching search,” Lurie said.
“Secondly, I thought, in fairness to Chip it was a good way for him to also view the marketplace and see what’s possible in terms of employers,” he continued. “Most importantly, however, was the opportunity to spend a lot of time with our players. I’ve already started the process. I’ve had a players’ only meeting with them today.”
Lurie, 64, denied reports that his conversation with frustrated running back DeMarco Murray aided the decision to release Kelly, but did acknowledged that he actively spoke with the players.
“In today’s world I want to hear from the players,” Lurie said. “I want to engage them and have them understand what they felt was lacking, I need to understand. Have them understand and take accountability, but also — at the same time — be a sponge. What is leadership like in today’s football world?MORE NEWS: Officials Across Delaware Valley Focus On Road Preparations In Anticipation Of Snow, Rain
“I would like to think that we’re always going to try to be on the progressive end of how to lead. That’s top down, but it’s also through the head coach and people the head coach surrounds himself with.”