After meeting with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles following Oregon’s 35-17 victory over Kansas State in the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Chip Kelly has decided to remain as the Ducks’ head coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Chip Kelly turned down a chance to go to the NFL and to returned to Oregon, according to sources. Considered Eagles but stayed at Oregon.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 7, 2013
The news comes following three days of numerous conflicting reports. On Friday, less than 24 hours after the Ducks’ victory, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Kelly was on the verge of an agreement with the Cleveland Browns after meeting with them in the Phoenix, Arizona area.
On Saturday, a source close to Kelly said the coach was set to have lunch with the Philadelphia Eagles and meet again with the Browns over dinner. Later, it was reported that Kelly’s lunch with the Eagles ran so long that he did not meet with the Browns after all.
By Sunday, the Browns were said to have moved on from pursuing Kelly, and that his decision would be between the Eagles and Oregon.
Following the 2012 Rose Bowl, Kelly met with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was reported to have accepted their head coaching position. Just hours later, Kelly changed his mind, citing “unfinished business. When asked about the “unfinished business” after the Fiesta Bowl, Kelly clarified what he had meant.
“I never quantify what this football program is about by wins and losses. I quantify it by how our players are,” he said.
With Kelly at the helm, Oregon has gone 46-7 over the past four seasons, and made four consecutive appearances in BCS bowl games. Hired as the head coach to replace Mike Belotti, for whom Kelly coached under for two years as the Ducks’ offensive coordinator, Kelly accrued national acclaim for his fast-paced, high-powered offense.
The Ducks’ current offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, was widely expected to succeed Kelly should he have accepted a job elsewhere.
“I think (Helfrich) could succeed at anything he wanted to,” said Kelly after the Fiesta Bowl. “I think he’s special and I love the guy.”
Should Kelly indeed return, he faces a crucial month ahead, leading up to February’s national signing day, on which high school recruits across the country determine where they will play college football.
Expectations for Kelly and the Ducks are sure to remain high as ever. Though the team loses a talented group of seniors including running back Kenjon Barner, linebackers Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso, and defensive end Dion Jordan, heralded players such as quarterback Marcus Mariota, running back De’Anthony Thomas, and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will lead a large returning group.