Chip Kelly reflects on meeting Bill Belichick for the first time, returning home to New England
|08.14.14 at 6:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — It’s been a homecoming week for Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
The former Oregon and University of New Hampshire coach and a New Hampshire native to this day — returned back to New England this week for the Eagles’ joint practices and Friday’s preseason game with the Patriots. Kelly coached at New Hampshire from 1994-2006 with roles varying from running backs coach, offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. Even though he’s returning home, the 50-year-old isn’t thinking of his return to New England as anything less than a business trip.
“We’re here to go to work and it’s a little bit of a ways away, but a couple people — a couple former players of mine at New Hampshire I saw yesterday after practice,” Kelly said. “That part was good, but it’s really a business trip for us getting ready to prepare against a really good team — giving ourselves an opportunity to test ourselves against an outstanding opponent. We’re kind of looking at it from that stand point.”
Kelly’s relationship with Bill Belichick goes back to his time with the Wildcats when the UNH staff would come down to check out Patriots practices. He’s always valued his time spent with Belichick.
“When he was coaching here and I was the coach at New Hampshire I used to come down and visit practice,” Kelly said of the first time he met Belichick. “He was very gracious — he’s always been really gracious to the local college coaches — they were always open for us to come in and watch and visit. In the NFL they start camp a little bit earlier than colleges so you get a chance to come down for that last week of July and first couple days of camp. At that time I think they were down at Bryant [University], but he’s been always been very gracious and always great at this time being able to share football knowledge.”
Even though he’s all business this week, Kelly has a soft spot for the place he calls home and where he grew up — Dover, New Hampshire.
‘That’s where you grow up, it’s your family,” Kelly said. “I think everyone does that — I don’t know many people that move away or something like that — there is always a place in your heart where you grew up and that you’re a part of. I’m fortunate that I get a chance to go home — my family still lives up there and I have a lot of really, really good friends there that I grew up with and I think that’s foundations we all built upon.”