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Patriots' Kraft gives Chip Kelly thumbs-up

PHOENIX - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, whose only two head coaching hires coached in the Super Bowl this year, is an admirer of Eagles coach Chip Kelly.

PHOENIX - New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, whose only two head coaching hires coached in the Super Bowl this year, is an admirer of Eagles coach Chip Kelly.

"If I were an Eagle fan, I would be excited," Kraft said Monday at the annual NFL meeting. "He did an outstanding job in college. I know my head coach [Bill Belichick] has great respect for him. He's trying to put his stamp on what's going on there. This is a tough league, so there will be some challenges. But he's an exciting guy to be around."

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who hired Kelly, is scheduled to speak to reporters on Tuesday.

Kraft drew a large crowd Monday as he addressed the league's ongoing investigation of the ball-inflation controversy from the AFC championship game.

Kraft said that there is "no smoking gun" and directed questions about the length of the investigation to the league office.

The biggest issue this week is the NFL's race to Los Angeles, and Kraft said he believes that there will be two teams there in the next year.

Jerry on Murray

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones praised new Eagles running back DeMarco Murray during a brief interview with reporters, noting Murray's talent and work ethic, and indicated that the Cowboys were not willing to match the Eagles' five-year, $40 million offer.

"We can't have it all," Jones told reporters. "Obviously, we're trying to help our defense during this free agency, so that was an issue there. Plus, we've got a lot of guys that certainly have been key players and we have to have room for them."

The Jaguars were also interested in Murray, but count them among the suitors who were outbid by the Eagles. When Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell was asked by the Florida Times-Union if the Eagles' offer was $1 million-$2 million more per year than the Jaguars' offer, he said it was "more than that."

Blackouts on hold

The NFL suspended the local blackout policy for the 2015 season. The announcement came six months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to end the blackout rule.

There were no blackouts during the 2014 season. The decision does not have much of an effect on the Eagles, who have not had a blackout since 1999.

The league also announced that the Oct. 25 Jaguars-Bills game will be available worldwide on a digital platform that has not yet been named. The game, which will be played in London, will still be televised in the two local markets.

Rules tweak

The league's competition committee tweaked the language in the rule book regarding what is and is not a catch. The rule gained attention after Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant's potential touchdown catch in the NFC divisional round was called incomplete.

"In order to complete a catch, the receiver has to have control, both feet on the ground and he has to have it after that long enough to clearly establish himself as a runner," said NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino.

That last part is consistent with the league's defenseless player rule. A player must have "the ability to ward off, avoid, protect himself from the impending contact" if he's a runner. So if a player is falling to the ground, as Bryant did, he has not established himself as a runner. Bryant's catch would still be an incompletion.

"If you are going to the ground, hang on to the ball. It is really that simple," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said."

Kelly on Tebow

Chip Kelly said in an interview with the NFL Network that the Eagles were "just doing our homework" when they worked out quarterback Tim Tebow last week.

"I've always been a fan of Tim," Kelly said. "We bring in a lot of players for private workouts, it's just he's the one that everyone keeps talking about."

Kelly is scheduled to meet with reporters Wednesday morning.

Chuck Bednarik Viewing

A viewing for Eagles Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik will be held Thursday from 12 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at Connell Funeral Home, 245 E. Broad St., Bethlehem, Pa.

A private Mass will be held Friday for friends and family.