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San Francisco 49ers hire Chip Kelly as head coach


Chip Kelly will be an NFL coach in 2016.

The San Francisco 49ers announced they hired Kelly as the team's 20th coach in franchise history on Thursday. He will be formally introduced as the team's new head coach during a news conference next week, the team said.

Kelly joins the 49ers after being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles prior to Week 17. Kelly went 26-21 in three seasons as an NFL coach.

After two 10-win seasons in Philadelphia, it all came crashing down on Kelly in 2015 after he wrestled personnel control away from the front office. Several of his headline-making moves backfired, including shipping LeSean McCoy out of town and signing DeMarco Murray.

In San Francisco, Kelly will not have personnel control, with general manager Trent Baalke entrenched. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network on Thursday that not having control is OK with Kelly, adding that the coach "learned his lesson with the Eagles" and is going to focus on coaching.

The Niners had also interviewed former Giants coach Tom Coughlin, former Broncos and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and new Browns coach Hue Jackson.

One of the reverberating stories from Philadelphia this season was that Kelly rubbed many people the wrong way and lost his locker room as the defeats mounted. In San Francisco, he'll have a second chance to correct those flaws.

The immediate question with Kelly taking over is the future of quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers appeared destined to part with the struggling signal-caller after this season, but perhaps Kelly could convince the organization he can rebuild the athletic quarterback and allow him to thrive in a fast-paced offense. In fact, Kelly reportedly considered trading for Kaepernick while with the Eagles.

The team also liked what it saw from Blaine Gabbert in his eight starts this season -- throwing for 2,031 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. During his time in Philadelphia, Kelly worked with the likes of Nick Foles, Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez. Gabbert and/or Kaepernick wouldn't exactly be a downgrade on that group.

After pushing Jim Harbaugh out the door, seeing talent flood out of the Bay Area and firing Jim Tomsula after one season, Baalke and 49ers CEO Jed York are banking on Kelly returning to the quick success he had to start his career in Philadelphia.


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