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THE WEIRS TIMES & THE COCHECO TIMES, Thursday, January 7, 2016

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by Mike Moffett Contributing Writer

CHIP KELLY It was a bummer to hear that the Philadelphia Eagles fired head coach Chip Kelly just before the NFL regular season finale. After all, Kelly was the only NFL coach to “friend� me on Facebook! Granite Staters who otherwise could care less about the Eagles were pulling for Philly to succeed because of Kelly’s Manchester roots—as in how the San Antonio Spurs have countless New Hampshire fans because Concord’s Matt Bonner has been with the NBA team for a decade. Kelly worked wonders as an assistant at the University of New Hampshire, helping the offense to set multiple records, first with running back Jerry Azumah in the late nineties, and later with quarterback Ricky Santos. In 2005 UNH was second in the country offensively, averaging almost 500 yards a game. Santos was runner-up for the Walter Payton Award, presented annually to the nation’s top Division 1-AA gridster. Santos would win this award outright the next year. The University of Oregon scooped up Kelly up as offensive coordinator and the Ducks led the Pac-10 in scoring in 2007, averaging over 38 points per game. Named head coach in 2010, Kelly immediately led the Ducks to the Rose Bowl. The next year found Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game. Numerous collegiate “Coach-of-the-Year� honors set Kelly up for an NFL shot with the Eagles in 2013. Philly was 4-12 in 2012, but Kelly led them to

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A Young Chip Kelly a 10-6 record and an NFC East title in his first year as NFL honcho. The team went 10-6 again in 2014 and then in 2015 Kelly was given the additional title of “Head of Football Operations.� This gave Kelly the power to make personnel changes he couldn’t make on his own previously. He moved people out and brought people in. Things didn’t click, and now Kelly is jobless. Ex-Eagles slammed Kelly from afar, casting aspersions upon his character. This was hard for FOC (Friends of Chip) to take, knowing him to be a good guy, but that goes with the territory in the NFL. (See below re: Peyton Manning.) But don’t weep for the Chipster. Kelly has already had job offers. He’s only 52 years old and many cool things lie ahead of him. There’s even been FOC speculation that someday he’ll replace Bill Belichick as New England Patriots head coach. Heaven help whomever has to replace Coach B, but Kelly’s resume far exceeds what Belichick’s was when the Pats hired HIM in 2000. Look for Kelly to end up with a team like the Ten-

nessee Titans for a while, before (maybe, hopefully) coming home to New England. PEYTON’S PLACE Peyton Manning’s place in sports history was recently challenged by an assertion on Al Jazeera television

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