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Kelly's search for Eagles personnel chief could take a while

It took Chip Kelly less than four weeks to hire a coaching staff of 26 after he was named Eagles head coach two years ago, but it could take as long for him to find the one man who will be his second-in-command in personnel.

James Lang/USA Today Sports file photo)
James Lang/USA Today Sports file photo)Read more

It took Chip Kelly less than four weeks to hire a coaching staff of 26 after he was named Eagles head coach two years ago, but it could take as long for him to find the one man who will be his second-in-command in personnel.

Although he has made many coaching hires, Kelly has never had to hire an NFL senior scout. He will look for someone who checks off the typical requirements in any job - someone who is intelligent, committed, a leader, congenial - but he also has to find someone who fits his vision for the position.

Kelly obviously has a strong opinion of what kind of scout it will take to carry out his wishes in the draft and free agency. Former general manager Howie Roseman, who was stripped of his personnel duties last week, ended up not being Kelly's idea of an evaluator.

But Roseman was as plugged into the league as much as any executive, and it is unlikely that he is assisting Kelly in his search. The coach has not spoken since the shake-up. The Eagles aren't commenting on the search.

The Eagles have identified some candidates, and the Jaguars and Texans granted them permission to interview directors of pro personnel Chris Polian and Brian Gaine, respectively, on Wednesday. But Kelly has a lot of catching up to do and won't likely rush the process as he pares down his list.

But as the man in charge on so many other fronts, Kelly also has other pressing matters such as contract negotiations with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, finding replacements as his coaching staff turns over, and making offseason evaluations.

It's unclear who is assisting Kelly in the search to fill the personnel executive vacancy. The Eagles dismissed vice president of player personnel and Kelly ally Tom Gamble, who would have been a likely candidate, last week.

Kelly does have coaching acquaintances around the NFL, such as Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien, who could offer advice. Eagles chief of staff James Harris, who followed Kelly from Oregon, is believed to be aiding the coach.

Other GM openings around the league have yet to be filled, but the Eagles aren't likely to receive consideration from most of the names that have been mentioned in the Bears and Jets searches. In fact, the Eagles' new hire might not even get a GM title because he won't have much authority.

Kelly now has final football say in all areas and Roseman will remain in charge of the salary cap and negotiate contracts. So candidates who may already have some authority or have filled the role of second banana with their respective teams are unlikely to take a step back or make a lateral move.

Chiefs director of pro personnel Chris Ballard declined an interview request from the Eagles on Monday. He is considered the front-runner for the Bears job. The Eagles also asked to speak with Eliot Wolf, but the son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf is unlikely to leave Green Bay after a promotion to vice president of player personnel.

The same could be said of the Titans' Lake Dawson, the Ravens' Eric DeCosta, the Saints' Ryan Pace, the Buccaneers' Jon Robinson, the Falcons' Lionel Vital, and the Chargers' JoJo Wooden, although the Eagles apparently haven't yet sought them out.

The Eagles are considered one of the healthier organizations in the league, and working with Kelly would be an attraction. But the discord between Kelly and Roseman and potentially having to be the go-between could make some candidates less likely to take the job.

There are plenty of less experienced contenders. Kelly just has to do his homework and find someone he is compatible with, and most important, someone who can evaluate players. He also needs someone who can head a staff, handle day-to-day details such as scouring the waiver wire, and still understand the cap and contracts.

Kelly could be interested in former GMs, such as Mark Dominik (Buccaneers), who may be looking for another chance, too. Polian, 42, was the Colts' GM from 2009 to '11, although he essentially answered to his father, Bill. The Polians were fired after the 2011 season.

The Eagles are still waiting to hear from the Dolphins after reportedly requesting to speak to director of college scouting Chris Grier. Lions director of pro personnel Sheldon White has been mentioned as a possibility.

There are a few in-house candidates - director of pro personnel Rick Mueller, who interviewed with the Jets last week, and assistant director of player personnel Ed Marynowitz are options.

So many choices, so little time.

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Finding Chip's Shipmate

Here are some scouts who have been mentioned in the search for an Eagles personnel executive, plus some other possible candidates:

Current position

Ran Carthon, Rams — Director of pro personnel

Mark Dominik ESPN analyst

Phil Emery, unemployed

Scott Fitterer, Seahawks — Director of college scouting

Brian Gaine, Texans — Director of pro personnel

Chris Grier, Dolphins — Director college scouting

Brian Gutekunst, Packers — Director of college scouting

Alonzo Highsmith, Packers — Senior personnel executive

Brandon Hunt, Steelers — Pro personnel coordinator

Jeff Ireland, Consultant

Trent Kirchner, Seahawks — Director of pro personnel

Mike Maccagnan, Texans — Director of college scouting

Ed Marynowitz, Eagles — Asst. director, player personnel

Will McClay, Cowboys — Asst. director, player personnel

Rick Mueller, Eagles — Director of pro personnel

Vince Newsome, Ravens — Director of pro personnel

Monti Ossenfort, Patriots — Director of college scouting

Chris Polian, Jaguars — Director of pro personnel

Bob Quinn, Patriots — Director of pro scouting

Marc Ross, N.Y. Giants — Director of college scouting

Sheldon White, Lions — Director of pro personnel