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Eagles had 2010 Sam Bradford on par with Peyton

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Speaking at the NFL Annual Meeting on Wednesday, coach Chip Kelly said he hopes newly acquired Sam Bradford will emerge as a legitimate franchise quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kelly didn't have to sell Bradford's franchise-altering potential to owner Jeffrey Lurie in advance of the March 10 trade in which 2014 starter Nick Foles was sent to the Rams.

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In the lead-up to the 2010 NFL Draft, Lurie disclosed Tuesday, the Eagles evaluated Bradford as "the best young quarterback we'd seen ... probably since Peyton Manning coming out of college."

It was not the first time this week that an Eagles operative drew comparisons between Bradford and the cream of the NFL's quarterback crop.

"When you look at all the great quarterbacks," Kelly told NFL Media's Steve Wyche, "Peyton Manning has missed a year, Tom Brady has missed a year, Drew Brees has missed a year. Again, we felt like to get a player of Sam's caliber, it wouldn't have happened unless he was injured."

Kelly watched Bradford's film "hundreds" of times while researching the trade, Lurie added. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, perhaps the strongest advocate for the trade, was the play-caller during Bradford's Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign back in 2010.

Multiple teams have placed Bradford's value as greater than a first-round draft pick.

The Eagles had reportedly decided by last Halloween that Foles was not the answer under center. As we opined after the trade went down, Kelly will come out on the winning side if Bradford succeeds in reaching his franchise-quarterback potential.

If not, the Eagles are back to square one, joining a dozen other teams in the obsessive hunt for that most elusive NFL asset.

"Until you find your quarterback," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff once said, "the search for him consumes you."

Kelly can identify with that stark sentiment.

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