So when Chip Kelly returns for the second straight year to Oregon after flirting seriously with the NFL, what will the story be?
Will it be that Kelly and his agent, David Dunn, aimed too high and played too shrewdly and failed to get the deal Kelly wanted? Or will it be that Oregon stepped up, causing Kelly to decide there’s no place like home, at least for another year?
Our money is on the latter.
It’s not a fair bet, because the wheels already are in motion for Kelly to save face by staying put. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Nike chairman Phil Knight is making a push to keep Kelly at Oregon.
So why’s the push starting now? It’s been common knowledge for weeks that Kelly planned to bat his eyelashes at the NFL once the college season ended. If Knight wanted to prevent that from happening, it should have happened long before Kelly had a chance to turn the flirtation into action.
Knight previously may have stayed out of it due in part to Nike’s still-new exclusive apparel contract with the NFL. Now that it looks like neither the Browns nor the Eagles are willing to give Kelly what he wants, Knight risks creating no friction with the NFL by trying to persuade Kelly to love the one he’s with.