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June 28, 2017

Chip Kelly on his new ESPN gig, swimming with great white sharks, and the Mariota trade that wasn't

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091415_Chip-Kelly_AP Brynn Anderson/AP

Former Eagles and 49ers head coach Chip Kelly is set for a return to coaching in the Pac-12 with UCLA.

Former Philadelphia Eagles (and 49ers) coach Chip Kelly has a new gig starting this fall. He'll be serving as a college football analyst for ESPN after spending last season in San Francisco.

On Wednesday, Kelly was a guest on Adam Schefter's podcast, "Know Them From Adam," and talked about a number of topics, from his time in Philly to what the future holds, from swimming with great white sharks to why he'd want to have dinner with Anne Frank. 

You can listen to the full interview, here, but we went ahead and transcribed some of the best parts. Enjoy.


On if he would (or could) have done anything differently in trying to acquire the rights to Marcus Mariota... 

“No. That question didn’t come up very often, because from all the conversations with Tennessee, they weren’t moving off the pick – and rightly so. They were looking for the same thing [as we were], to get themselves a really top-quality quarterback. It wasn’t like we didn’t offer– we really didn’t get into a conversation about what we can and can’t offer because they made it known that they weren’t really looking to trade the pick. I think that’s all speculation that’s out there. 

"You hear reports saying we offered this and we offered that; we didn’t offer anything because they weren’t taking any offers for [the No. 2 pick]. And rightly so. You look at what Marcus has done in his two years in the league. He’s one of the really bright young quarterbacks in the NFL and there’s a reason they didn’t move off that pick. Because they had a chance to get themselves a really good quarterback.”


Chip isn't closing the door on coaching by taking a job at ESPN – although Jon Gruden said the same thing and he's now been at the network for over eight years, nearly as long as he spent as a head coach in the NFL.

On why he decided to take a TV job... 

“I had a few options after I got let go in San Francisco. And I have some friends in the business that I have great respect for. And then I talked to a couple people – Bob Davey, Urban Meyer, Jon Gruden, guys who have been out [of coaching] that went that route – about how much they enjoyed it, and they though it gave them a new perspective on how to look at things. I think it was just the best option at this time.”

On whether or not he has his sights set on an eventual return to coaching...

“I’m excited about what I’m going to do for ESPN and then I’ll see what happens after that. I don’t have any set plans that I’m going to do this for X amount of time and then do [something else]. We all like to think we have control of our lives, but really, we don’t. And I think the fun part of that is the unknown kind of keeps you going, kind of gives you a little energy and a little juice. I know what I’m going to be doing in the fall, and then I don’t know what I’m going to be doing beyond that. I’ll always keep an open mind and listen to whatever’s out there."


On what it was like coaching Kaepernick?

"Kap was awesome. You know, at the beginning of the year, he made a stance in terms of what he believed was right. And we recognized and supported his ability to do that. But he never brought that into the locker room. We had a meeting the day after the Green Bay game that he did it at in the preseason. He explained to all the players his thought process and what he was doing, and there were some players that agreed with him and there were some that didn't. 

"After that point, we heard from the outside what a distraction it is, except those people weren't in our locker room and it never was a distraction and Kap never brought that and turned it into a circus or whatever people think. He came to work every day, extremely diligent in his preparation in terms of his work ethic in the weight room, his work ethic in the meeting room. 

"I really enjoyed Kap. I've talked to Kap three or four times since we both left San Francisco. I know he's working out really hard in New York right now. And I think he's a really good person and player. And I really enjoyed coaching him."


The best stuff from Chip, as was often the case during his time with the Eagles, came when he was asked non-football questions. Luckily, Schefter had more than a couple of those.

On whether or not he hates green vegetables... 

“I’m not a big fan. I wouldn’t say hate. Hate’s a big word.”

On if he eats any vegetables, unlike Al Michaels, who "has never eaten a vegetable in his life..."

“No, I like carrots and corn and some other things, just not particular to the green ones.”

On what it was like to run with the bulls in Pamplona?

“At the time it was scary, to be honest with you. But it was something that I’ve always wanted to do. And Scott Frost, who is the coach at Central Florida, and a buddy of mine who is a high school basketball coach back here in Maine, Mike Zamarchi, got a chance to go over and it was interesting. We were probably just, like, the run-with-the-bull nerds because we got there the day before, and it’s this huge festival where everybody’s celebrating. And we walked the course three times and tried to plot out where we needed to be on this turn and how this is going to work, and where to go here, and put our coaches’ caps on like we know exactly what was going to happen. 

"And then, similar to any game plan any coach maps out, right when the horn went off to let the bulls out on the course, every plan we had was out, because people were just scrambling and running and trying not to get run over. We said we weren’t going to get separated, but we got separated right at the jump and then I actually caught Scott right at the end before we were back at the stadium. A couple of them got past us and were already in the stadium, and then that was another 45 minutes of the bulls running through and trying to take people out there. 

"It was a surreal moment where you get a prospective you never really thought of. But the most interesting thing for me is that everybody dressed the same – you usually have a white t-shirt on, a red bandana, and then some type of running shoes – and then I just remember we had been in the ring for probably 20 minutes and it’s hot. And I’m trying to figure out how many bulls are left so we can end this thing. At that point I’d had enough of the experience and hadn’t been hit yet so, let’s just end this thing. 

"Out of the corner of the eye, it made me laugh, there was a guy, in Pamplona, Spain, miles and miles from home and there’s a guy wearing a Tim Tebow jersey. In the middle of the ring. Right next to me. I knew they weren’t going to let Tim Tebow get hit so I stood next to that guy for the next 20 minutes to make sure. Because no bull would go near Tebow, so no bull is going to get me.”

On if he's ever done anything else this crazy...

“No, this was the top of our list. But we have a few other things on there.”


“Swim with the great whites off [the coast of] South Africa. That’s next up on the hitlist.”

Then, Schefter moved on to his final three questions that asks each and every guest. 

•  When was the last time you cried? Chip said, "Yesterday," which at the time of the recording was Father's Day. The reason? His father passed away in December and this was his first without him. "It was probably a little more emotional [than I expected]," he added. "Just because I was talking to my mom and making sure she was OK."

•  What would you want for your last meal? "Lobster," he said without much hesitation. After all, he in New Hampshire while doing the interview.

•  Who would be the four people at that lobster dinner in New Hampshire? "Anne Frank," Chip said, much to the surprise of Schefter. "Yeah, I'm a big Anne Frank fan. She had a great perspective on life, so I would just love to talk to her about the experiences she had and what she went through and how she could think the way she thought at such a young age to survive what she had to survive."

That was a deep answer from Chip. So deep, in fact, that Schefter didn't even make him name the other three people he'd invite to dinner.

But there's just one problem: Shellfish aren't kosher.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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