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Chip Kelly too much of a 'gamble,' Browns CEO says

New Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly finally decided to join the NFL, after more than a week of waffling. His final choice was between the Eagles and staying at the University of Oregon, but the third team heavily involved in the process says Kelly's indecision was a turnoff.

"We removed ourselves from the process," Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner told Peter King of SI.com. "We really liked Chip. He's intriguing, a very different thinker and very smart. But you could see he was uncertain what he wanted to do.

"He may be in Philadelphia 10 years or longer and have a terrific career. But the fact he committed to Tampa Bay last year, backed out, then seemed all year to be leaning toward going to the NFL, then being so uncertain with us, we just felt it was too big a gamble. If there was no ambivalence, we may have offered him the job."

Come on, Cleveland. The Browns aggressively went after Kelly. If Kelly had changed his mind and wanted to join the Browns before they hired Rob Chudzinski, we're really supposed to believe the door was closed to Kelly? The Browns wanted Kelly. The Eagles got him. It's that simple.

It's hard not to view these quotes in context with the back-and-forth between Banner and his former boss, Jeffrey Lurie, last week. Lurie strongly indicated Banner leaked negative information about Eagles GM Howie Roseman to CBS. Banner responded that it was untrue and disappointing, saying he was taking the "high road" in response.

(Note: You can't announce you are taking the "high road." It's like calling yourself humble.)

After that comment, a "source with knowledge of the situation" told ProFootballTalk that Lurie went straight to the media with accusations about Banner rather than speaking to Banner privately.

I'm not in a position to officiate this squabble, but I'm surprised two executives are so willing to engage in a public, petty back-and-forth that makes both men look bad.

Perhaps Banner is speaking the truth about Kelly, but the recent history between the Browns and Eagles just makes it look like sour grapes.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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