The other Chip Kelly hears it from Eagles fans

Posted: January 01, 2016

Chip Kelly was grilling dinner Tuesday night for his family while on vacation in Hilton Head Island, S.C., when his phone buzzed again and again.

"Well," he said, "something happened."

His father-in-law popped outside.

"Chip Kelly just got fired by the Eagles," he said to Chip Kelly.

Already, some in the strange universe that is Twitter had aimed their ire at the vacationing Kelly, a 41-year-old executive for a California start-up. His phone glowed with every tweet sent to his handle - @chipkelly - and there were hundreds, starting with four laughing and crying emojis in one tweet, delivered six minutes after the Eagles announced the more famous Kelly was fired.

Soon, curse-filled farewells landed. Then the suggestions to go coach the Tennessee Titans. Some words of encouragement. More cursing.

"I get some unbelievable things," Kelly said Wednesday.

No worries, Twitter Chip Kelly says. He appreciates being a cathartic source for venting Eagles fans.

"Can I have the last 3 years of my life back, @chipkelly?" one asked.

Another user sent him a 10-tweet screed with racial undertones that challenged Kelly's coaching philosophy.

One tweeter sent a photo, asking him to look "into the innocent eyes of this Eagles fan and say sorry."

And then: "@chipkelly even if you're not the real Chip Kelly he needs an apology from someone."

The nonfootball Kelly said he's used to the mistaken identity. He said he received death threats on Twitter when the Eagles released DeSean Jackson.

His friends piled on.

"Sorry you got fired," one of them texted Kelly. "What's it like on Twitter?"

"It's crazy," Kelly replied.

Years ago, friends begged him to start sending the best tweet he received every week. That was doable when Kelly, the coach, was at the University of Oregon. When he arrived in Philadelphia, it was a different story.

"I couldn't keep up," Twitter Chip Kelly said. "There was too much stuff."

His first name is John, his middle name is Chipman, and he's been Chip since before he could remember. He played tennis at Tulane University and went into software sales before he joined a friend's company - Insiders Abroad, a community website where expats offer tips for overseas tourists.

He registered the Twitter account in September 2008 to learn about the social medium during its nascent days.

At the time, coach Chip Kelly was a hotshot offensive coordinator at Oregon. The ultra-private coach does not have a verified Twitter account.

"Something strikes me about Chip, that he really wants to give this pro thing a try," the lesser-known Chip Kelly said. "I don't know. Everybody on Twitter tells me to go back to college."

It turns out that Chip Kelly is a Patriots fan.

"For my birthday this year, my mother got me and my son matching Tom Brady jerseys," he said from Hilton Head. "I was going to send that out on Twitter. But then I said, 'I'm not even going to touch that.' "

mgelb@philly.com

215-854-2928 @MattGelb

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