EX-EAGLE COACH VERMEIL: NO QUESTION CHIP CAN TAKE BIRDS TO SUPE!

By Mary Cunningham

If you’re still on the bubble about Eagles Supreme Leader Chip Kelly, you might want to listen to Dick Vermeil, who coached the Birds to the Super Bowl in 1981 and won one in St. Louis 20 years later.

In other words, Vermeil’s bona fides are undeniable.

About Chip’s system?

“It’s not so much innovation,” Vermeil said. “It’s evolution.”

Vermeil was inducted into the the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame last night along with St. Joe’s Prep and Delaware product Rich Gannon and Eagles all-purpose back Timmy Brown.

“I wanted to be on the other side of Tommy MacDonald, as a receiver!” said Brown. “I would love to touch the ball in the offense they’re running now.”

“I think it’d be a great offense to play in,” said Gannon, a mobile, accurate passer with the Raiders.

“The offense we ran in St. Louis was the same offense we started with here in Philadelphia,” Vermeil said. “It kept growing.”

Can the Kelly offense evolve further?

“There’s no question in my mind it can work, if you have the right players and the right assistant coaches,” Vermeil said. “They’ll keep adjusting the offense to what he wants to do as he gets more accustomed to the NFL. Just like I did.”

“That’s building a championship in the eyes of the leadership,” Vermeil said.

Does that mean Kelly can do what Vermeil did?

“No question. If I can do it, anybody could,” Vermeil said. “I respect very much what he and his staff are doing.”

On a night set aside to honor the past, Kelly and his lieutenants were the hot topic.

“Maybe it’s because people here appreciate hard work. Maybe it’s because they appreciated what we accomplished in comparison to what had been going on,” said Vermeil, whose predecessors conspired to avoid the playoffs for 15 years. “And they related to me because I told them the truth. I didn’t hide anything from them. I’m an easy person to read.”

“We’d had a lot of bad football here,” said Bill Bergey, a 2011 inductee and a Pro Bowl linebacker Vermeil inherited . . . and treated like any college freshman. “This little, hairy high school coach who started out at Hillsdale High was telling me to keep my chin strap buckled. He told me when I could take a drink of water. He told me when I could take a knee. He did things differently. But we knew:

“Anybody who bought into the way he wanted to do things would become winners.”

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