The success Oregon head coach Chip Kelly has enjoyed in Eugene is not only well-documented, but widely copied (which we all know is the highest form of flattery).
His innovative style of offensive game play has wreaked havoc on the Pac-12 and the nation for years since replacing Mike Bellotti, who himself enjoyed a promotion to athletic director at the time of Kelly’s hiring.
Now it is looking like Kelly’s predecessor is not doing him any favors as the rumors continue to swirl about the program.
Bellotti did not hesitate to provide his insights as to the rumors coming out of Eugene and in fact, the way Bellotti sees things, Kelly’s departure is all but written in stone.
“It’s just inevitable that he will eventually be in the NFL,” Bellotti said. “Chip is one of the ultimate competitors and he sees that. It actually surprised me he changed his mind [with the Bucs] last year.”
Kelly, with his high-powered offensive schemes and play calling, has been a hot commodity among NFL brass for quite some time, and Bellotti is referring to the formerly vacant head coaching position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kelly was all but set on leaving the Pacific Northwest for the sunny skies of Florida until he pulled out of the offer at the 11th hour. Greg Schiano, who spent a decade building the Rutgers football program from the ground up, is now manning the helm in Tampa, and he has looked good through the early going.
The NFL landscape, however, is littered with the tales of fantastic college coaches making the jump to the next level and crashing and burning in the process. Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban are two recent examples of men who made the jump to the League after winning national championships, only to head back to the amateur ranks with their tails tucked between their legs.
What is the motivation, then, of a man like Kelly to leave the cushy spot he has built for himself at Oregon, where he is practically idolized?
Bellotti, a former D-I player-turned coach-turned AD, understands what exactly resides in the soul of a competitor. He believes Kelly may be becoming restless with the prospect of a new challenge.
“Whether they get to the national championship and whether they win the national championship, I don’t know. To think he’ll stay there when ultimately his idea of top jobs is to get to the Super Bowl, it won’t happen, unfortunately, at the college level.”
Like Jimbo Fisher’s reaction to being asked about the potentially open coaching position at Auburn, Kelly has not put any effort into putting any rumors to rest. In fact, when prompted, he practically fanned the flames of the desire of a few NFL owners and general managers.
“I have no reaction. What we do here is all I’m focused on … We’re not talking about where we’re going. We have a one-week mission. Our mission this week is Cal. You need to narrow down your focus more nine games in.”
Kelly’s team over the last many years has been known for developing and even teaching the type of speed that had previously been seen as unteachable.
That said, he had better take a moment or two to put the speed to rest, to slow down and take a look around.
Ferris Bueller understood it best, and the truth resonates here: Chip Kelly may not be with the Ducks much longer, and if he doesn’t stop to look around, he just might miss it.
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