Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and execs are headed back to Browns. Sources say they will reboot coach search without Chip Kelly in the fold.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 6, 2013
Reports of Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s inevitable departure from Eugene to the NFL may just have been exaggerated. Kelly has been widely presumed to be headed out the Ducks’ door since leading the team to a 35-17 drubbing of Kansas State in the BCS Fiesta Bowl.
In fact, after it was reported that Kelly spent seven hours interviewing with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, a deal between the two parties was seem as nothing more than a formality.
Well, not so fast.
Last season, Kelly nearly accepted an offer to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, only to back out at the 11th hour. With Kansas City hiring Andy Reid, Buffalo bringing former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone aboard and now the Browns’ decision to look in another direction, there may not be too many more places for Kelly to go.
The Philadelphia Eagles are reportedly one of the teams with Kelly still at the top of their short list, along with the Arizona Cardinals.
Kelly has built the Ducks into an absolute force, going 46-7 in the last four seasons as the architect of one of the most unique and consistently prolific offensive units in the nation.
Cleveland interviewed Kelly and seven other candidates, but will return to Cleveland empty-handed. Haslam and his staff fired Pat Shurmur and his 9-23 record following his second season at the helm.