A little under a year ago, Chip Kelly was going to be the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Soon after the news broke, Kelly changed his mind — or as the “official” story states, the story breaking was premature. But no mater what happened, Kelly showed his hand that he wants to coach in the NFL and by flirting dangerously close to jumping ship this past winter, the clock started ticking as to when the move will happen.
It appears, according to those close to Kelly and the University of Oregon, if the Ducks win the National Championship this year, it will be followed by Kelly’s inevitable move to the pros.
A source close to Kelly who didn’t want to be identified told Dodd that if the Ducks win the national championship, Kelly will have accomplished everything he wants to accomplish in college football, and will turn his attention to the NFL.
Right now the Oregon Ducks are ranked No.3 in the country and, with an undefeated record, are primed very well for their second trip to the National Championship game in three years. But with Kansas State looking hot and a schedule that has two top 15 schools left on it, putting the Ducks against Alabama or whoever in the title game is beyond getting ahead of ourselves.
But right now it seems the gauge on Kelly leaving Eugene for any one of the numerous NFL jobs that will open up, is that all elusive title game. Kelly and the Ducks made it all the way in 2010 but lost to Cam Newton and Auburn.
Even if Kelly doesn’t win a title, he could still bolt to the NFL. Last season the pickings were slim when it came to head coaching vacancies with Tampa Bay being the most attractive option, and attractive is used in the lightest of senses. Kansas City, St. Louis and Indianapolis all had coaches in mind while the Jaguars, Raiders, Dolphins and Buccaneers were all less than lucrative jobs.
This year Kelly would be a top candidate amongst jobs that include possible gigs with the Eagles, Panthers, Chargers, Jets, Cowboys and Saints to name a few. The Browns will be looking to start their new era with a fresh new face and Kelly’s status will be heavily aided by how well Greg Schiano does from here on out in Tampa. Kelly’s nest job won’t hinge on Schiano’s rookie success, but if he can take the rag-tag Buccaneers and make them respectable, more high profile teams like the Cowboys, Saints and Chargers might give Kelly a more serious look.
The knock on Kelly is his spread offense and his lack of NFL coaching experience. Even Schiano, who was taking on his first NFL head coaching gig this year (which was a knock on him) had experience on NFL staffs before. But the spread offense is starting to make a name for itself in the NFL with RGIII and Tim Tebow paving the way.
Could you imagine Cam Newton in a Chip Kelly offense?
There’s no saying Kelly will be a success in the NFL but he’s got his eyes set on the jump, and it’s only a matter of time before it happens.