Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is not the most sentimental person in the NFL, so it's rare for him to show anything but his normally quick wit when dealing with the media. On Monday however, he opened up a little bit while discussing the draft's most talked-about prospect in Johnny Manziel.
It turns out Kelly has quite the soft spot for the quarterback, and was devastated when Manziel decommitted from Oregon to attend Texas A&M back in high school.
"When I coached at Oregon he was tailor-made for (the offense)," Kelly told CSN Philadelphia. "He broke my heart. I love the kid. I think he's a hell of a football player."
It's not hard to see why Kelly thinks that about Johnny Football, who has ascended to become NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock's top-ranked quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. Manziel was a Texas high school football legend in the small town of Kerrville, scoring 77 touchdowns while throwing for 3,609 yards as a senior alone. He visited Kelly in Eugene for one of the Ducks' football camps in 2010 and promptly pulled the trigger on a scholarship offer and committed. A few months later, Texas A&M put on a full-court press for Manziel's services and he eventually switched his commitment to the Aggies.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Manziel won the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman at A&M but Kelly didn't suffer too much from the blown opportunity by nabbing a commitment from current Oregon starter Marcus Mariota in the same recruiting class. Also a dual-threat signal-caller with a strong arm, the 6-foot-4 Mariota heads into the 2014 season for the Ducks as one of the favorites to win the Heisman and could wind up being a first-round pick in 2015 if he declares for the draft.
While a few folks might wonder "what-if" had both star quarterbacks wound up at Oregon, Kelly could have an opportunity to reunite with Manziel through the draft if he wants the organization to go that direction in the first round. Manziel would, after all, be the perfect mobile quarterback for the Eagles' fast-paced offense and Kelly didn't exactly douse all hope of that scenario, either.
"We have an interest in anybody that's draft-eligible this year," he said.
The Eagles pick 22nd overall and likely won't be in a position to draft a quarterback like Manziel without paying a huge price to move up. The team doesn't appear to be in the market to draft a quarterback anyway with Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley on the roster but none of the three would be considered one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the league.
Johnny Football in Philly? We all can dream about the possibility. Kelly, it seems, already has.