Eagles Notes: Kelly backs Mariota's decision to stay at Oregon

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Posted: December 06, 2013

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was recruited by Chip Kelly and started for the Eagles coach, plans to return for his junior season at Oregon. Kelly did not consult Mariota, but he said he's happy for his former quarterback.

"Take it from a guy who had a real tough time leaving there: I think it's a good decision," Kelly said.

Mariota was expected to be among the top picks in May's NFL draft. He'll now be a top candidate in 2015.

Kelly reiterated that Eugene, Ore., is a "special place." He said Mariota comes from a great family that values education. A redshirt player, Mariota plans to earn his degree after next season.

"He's a really special young man," Kelly said. "I think everyone in the league will have to wait a couple of years. I love coaching him. He's exactly what you want in a football player."

There was speculation that Kelly could go after Mariota in the draft because of their connection, although that came before Nick Foles' hot streak; the Eagles have played themselves out of contention for a high pick.

Punter honored

Eagles punter Donnie Jones was named NFC special-teams player of the week for the second straight time. Jones set an Eagles record with seven punts inside the 20-yard line in Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals. It was the third-highest total in the NFL since 1976.

"It's cool; it's a nice honor," Jones said.

It continued a strong season for Jones, who has a net average of 41.3 yards per punt and 29 punts inside the 20-yard line. Jones, 33, is on his fifth NFL team and had prepared for the possibility that he wouldn't have a career after his rookie season.

"There's a lot of good guys who never make it, because there's 32 positions," Jones said. "Timing has a lot to do with it."

Injury update

Eagles safety Earl Wolff (knee), linebacker Najee Goode (hamstring), and wide receiver Jeff Maehl (concussion) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. Defensive lineman Clifton Geathers was absent for personal reasons.

In Detroit, three key players did not practice: wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee), running back Reggie Bush (calf), and safety Louis Delmas (knee).

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