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Banner May Get Last Laugh on Lurie with Chip Kelly

Joe Banner may get Chip Kelly

University of Oregon’s head coach, Chip Kelly is a hot commodity, whose name is on the list of every team that is waiting in line for a chance to lure him and his innovative offense to their city. Kelly’s uptempo zone-read, spread, no-huddle offense has lit up scoreboards on college campuses nationwide since 2007, have NFL executives salivating, including the Philadelphia Eagles.

But according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Chip Kelly may no longer be available to make the rounds of a much-anticipated wine and dine tour. Rapport reports that Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner and owner Jimmy Haslam flew to Arizona, where Kelly’s Ducks beat Kansas State 35-17 Thursday in the Fiesta Bowl. Banner and Haslam are going all out to bring Kelly to the Browns to succeed Pat Shurmur and turn around a franchise that has only two winning seasons since re-joining the league in 1999.

If Banner/Haslam can deliver, it would be huge for a fledgling Cleveland organization and an even bigger blow to the Eagles, who have made Kelly their top priority since owner Jeffrey Lurie fired Andy Reid on Monday.

Ironically, Banner, who had been Eagles team President since Lurie’s purchase in 1994, was ceremoniously demoted to the owner’s strategic adviser in June before leaving for Cleveland, clearly due to philosophical differences. Magnified at the post-Reid press conference when Lurie intimated that Banner and Reid were responsible for the team’s poor drafts prior to 2012.

With that thought in mind, if Banner can orchestrate a Chip Kelly to Cleveland splash, Lurie will hear the chuckle from Lake Erie all the way to the Delaware River.

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