We asked the question, so we’ll provide the answer.
Or maybe not.
After pulling out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coaching job at the final hour, a position that was eventually awarded to former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, several NFL teams thus remained in the hunt for an innovator who was at the very least thinking about making a move.
Kelly’s offensive schematics are nationally renowned not only at the collegiate level, but among the professional ranks as well.
Why? Because Kelly does not simply air the ball out and pile up passing yards against man coverage, that’s why.
Kelly has found a way to score points in bunches using a well-respected running game, and that, boys and girls, is what has NFL owners drooling over his services.
Jeffrey Lurie, the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, is one of those NFL owners and he is smart. Lurie understands that with a quarterback like Michael Vick and speedy playmakers LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, Kelly would have the type of chess pieces an offensive mind needs to succeed at the next level.
Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King, for one, believes the possibility of Kelly’s leaving his cushy throne in Eugene for the unknown of the NFL might be far closer to becoming a reality than anyone on the campus at Oregon might like to admit.
“Close to the end, barring a miracle stay by Jeffrey Lurie. Could Oregon coach Chip Kelly, his national title hopes dashed, be waiting in the wings? I believe he’ll be a candidate to take the Eagles job after leaving the Bucs at the altar last year.”
That would absolutely sound like conjecture from a sports journalist, if not for two things: First, King is one of the most well-known and well-respected sports media personalities in the country. Second, Kelly’s predecessor, Mike Bellotti, did his coach no favors in telling reporters that he was actually surprised Kelly changed his mind and turned down the Tampa Bay job.
[Check out the full story on Bellotti's statements here]
Kelly’s current bunch at Oregon had risen to the top of the national standings. Sitting pretty at No. 2 in the BCS standings and with a clear path to the national championship, his team fell in an overtime heartbreaker at the hands of a very good Stanford squad.
One of the reasons Bellotti gave as to why a man such as Kelly would leave a guaranteed $2.8 million and another $1 million in incentives at a school that would never even think to fire him is the constant need for greater and larger forms of competition.
The only thing tougher to win than the BCS National Championship in the world of football is the Lombardi Trophy signifying a Super Bowl victory.
Now that Kelly’s hopes of taking hold of the crystal ball are all but gone following the Stanford defeat – multiple one-loss squads would have to lose to make a title shot a reality – will Kelly stay put in hopes of revving up for another run next year?
Or will Lurie (or some other equally rich, equally desperate owner) reach deep into his pockets and find a way to lure Kelly away from the Pacific Northwest.
With each passing day, and with Kelly’s continual refusals to deny his own interest in making the leap, the rumors grow louder.
Does that make them more legitimate?
H/t: SB Nation
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