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December 29, 2015

Did Kelly's need for personnel control lead to his 'release?'

Eagles NFL
042015ChipKellyHowieRoseman Michael Perez/AP

Tuesday's news was certainly a victory for Howie Roseman.

The Philadelphia Eagles didn't just get rid of their head coach on Tuesday. They also got rid of the person who oversees their personnel department.

No, not VP of player personnel Ed Marynowitz, but the guy who hired him -- Chip Kelly.

Despite the fact that Kelly was not general manager by title, he was certainly the one calling the shots and constructing the roster after winning a power struggle with former GM Howie Roseman last offseason. And after less than a full season with that control, owner Jeffrey Lurie decided he had seen enough from both Kelly and Marynowitz.

A few days before hitting unemployment, Kelly told the media that he was not worried about his job security -- not because the team has underperformed following two 10-6 seasons, but because he doesn't believe you can be successful if you're always looking over your shoulder.

"If it's not good enough, it's not good enough," he said following their 38-24 loss to Washington on Saturday night. "But I'm going to continue to work as hard as I can and show up early in the morning and stay late at night and continue to work. But I don't think anybody in my situation would tell you they are worried about -- if they are worried about getting fired, they probably should already have been fired."

Kelly was again asked on Monday whether or not he's done a good enough job -- both as a coach and as the top personnel guy -- specifically, as it relates to Lurie's view of the team. 

"Yeah, [Lurie's] very disappointed. I think we all are," the now former coach said. "I don't think there's anybody that's excited about the situation right now. So that's where everybody in this league if you don't make the playoffs, there's a huge disappointment. Because that's what everything is geared to do is trying to get into the playoffs and see what you can do in the playoffs. I'm sure he's disappointed just like everybody else in here is disappointed."

Kelly refused to get into specifics, adding that the two would talk more at length once the season ended. Apparently for Lurie, like his team, it ended -- at least in any meaningful way -- at The Linc on Saturday night.

But what if that talk -- the one they likely had Tuesday -- involved Lurie asking Kelly to surrender his control over the 90-man roster? Could that have been enough to force Kelly into calling his boss's bluff, only to quickly find out that was the wrong decision?

On Monday, Kelly said that was Lurie's call.

"The owner decides whatever he wants," he said. "It's his team; he can do whatever he wants. It's always been that way."

What's missing from that answer is how that would affect their relationship, and whether or not it would be enough to end it altogether. 

According to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, that's exactly what happened.

Sources told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio that Lurie had been thinking for weeks about making changes in the team's structure, including stripping Kelly of personnel control.

Lurie and Kelly met recently, sources said, and that suggestion was made to Kelly, who balked at the idea.

Sources said Lurie made the decision to part ways with Kelly on Tuesday morning. That will allow the Eagles to get a jump on some of the hot assistant coaches who will be available, including Sean McDermott, the Carolina Panthers' defensive coordinator, who once held the same title with the Eagles.  []

And now, both sides are left trying to figure out what the next move is.

Kelly reportedly hopes to remain at the NFL level, while the Eagles must begin searching for his replacement, a search that will be led by Lurie, team president Don Smolenski and ... Howie Roseman, who may be returning to a more prominent role in the organization's personnel department.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin