According to Pro Football Talk, first year Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly will not be leaving the Eagles to pursue the vacant head coaching position at USC, a position that opened up after previous coach Lane Kiffin was fired late last week.
Like we haven’t heard that one before.
Previous highly-touted college coaches, early in their NFL head coaching careers, have had similar remarks, only to jump back into the college ranks as soon as their NFL teams underperformed, or a big-time college position opened up. In 2007, ex-Loisville coach Bobby Petrino bailed on the Atlanta Falcons to take the head coaching job at Arkansas before the NFL season had even ended. The Falcons went 3-10 under Petrino.
Similarly, the highly-praised Nick Saban left LSU to coach the Miami Dolphins in 2004. In his second NFL season with the Dolphins, Saban vehemently denied interest in coaching Alabama, but after a 6-10 season with the Dolphins, he still ended leaving to coach Alabama.
Kelly was certainly a high profile college coach, leading the Oregon Ducks to four BCS bowl games in each of his four seasons with his fast-paced, spread-style offense. However, his offense has petered out in his first four games as the coach of the Eagles. That, along with a very disappointing defense, has the Eagles at 1-3.
I’m not saying Chip Kelly will leave the Eagles for USC. Even at 1-3, the Eagles are still very much in the race to win the subterranean NFC East. And USC has had no public interest in Kelly (everyone and theri mothers have been rumored). But USC is a once-in-a-liftime type of opportunity, sitting at the bottom of a PAC-12 conference Kelly is very familiar with, just waiting for someone to return them to their former football glory.
Chip Kelly says it won’t be him.
But so did Petrino and Saban.