CLEVELAND — Chip Kelly is close to taking his fast-paced offense to the NFL.
A person familiar with the negotiations says the Cleveland Browns are nearing a deal with Oregon’s offensive mastermind to be their next coach.
The Browns interviewed Kelly on Friday and the Ducks coach was supposed to meet with Philadelphia in Arizona. However, a person familiar with the interviews says the Eagles are “heading in another direction” because Kelly is nearing a deal with Cleveland.
That person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the Eagles planned to interview several other candidates regardless of any conversations with Kelly.
The Eagles were granted permission Friday to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and are scheduled to meet with Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday.
Following Oregon’s win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl on Thursday night, the 49-year-old Kelly said he wanted to get the interview process over “quickly.”
He turned down an offer from Tampa Bay last year to return for his fourth season at Oregon, where he is 46-7. He has boosted the school’s national profile — flashy uniforms helped — with a high-powered offense capable of turning any game into a track meet.
“It’s more a fact-finding mission, finding out if it fits or doesn’t fit,” Kelly said after the Ducks beat No. 7 Kansas State 35-17.
“I want to get it wrapped up quickly and figure out where I’m going to be.”
Kelly has been at the top of the Browns’ list of candidates since the team fired Pat Shurmur, who went 9-23 in two seasons.
The Browns, who have made the playoffs once in 14 seasons, have declined comment on any interviews.
Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton confirmed he interviewed with Cleveland earlier this week.
The Browns have reportedly met with former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien, who removed himself from any consideration on Thursday night and intends to stay at the school.