INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- Former Ducks, first-year Eagles coach Chip Kelly was five minutes into his NFL scouting combine press conference when he was asked about Bill Belichick.
The coaches were introduced in 2011 by former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. The relationship became a story last fall when, as detailed by the Boston Globe, Belichick adopted some elements of Kelly's high-octane Oregon offense into his own.
New England averaged a league-best 74.4 plays from scrimmage in 2012.
Kelly isn't looking for a thank you note. If anything, he's grateful to have spent time with Belichick.
"He's one of the iconic coaches in this profession. Obviously, his record speaks for itself. When you're around people like that you do a lot more listening than you do talking."
Kelly is in a position to listen and learn. This season in Philadelphia will be his first in the NFL after coaching in Oregon for the last four years. His transition from college to the pros is already being evaluated.
But Kelly denied the chance to lean on Belichick's legacy Thursday. Rather, Kelly downplayed the relationship.
"I'm from New England," he stated flatly. "I've spent a lot of time going down just as a coach when they opened up practice for college coaches to come down and visit and talk with. I always asked him questions. But I didn't talk to [coach Belichick] about coming to the NFL. I didn't talk to Coach about what to expect in my first season."
Kelly's refusal to put the connection under Thursday's bright lights didn't sound like disrespect. It seems he's simply trying to forge his own NFL path.
"I think we're all byproducts of our experiences. Whether you're visiting with Coach Belichick, or - I went to OTA's with Joe Philbin last year, I went with Chan Gailey down in Buffalo, I've been to see Jim Harbaugh down with the 49ers, I've been to see Pete Carroll in Seattle. All those guys have been gracious to let me watch practice. There's not one I'm going to rely on more than another."