Chip Kelly reiterates that he won’t be returning to Oregon

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Previously, any discussion about Chip Kelly returning to Oregon was hypothetical. Now, it’s not.

But that hasn’t changed the position that Kelly publicly has taken regarding whether he has any interest in returning to college football. Kelly told reporters on Wednesday that he won’t be going back to Oregon.

“Yup,” Kelly said when asked whether he’d stay with the 49ers. “So we’re done with that, I hope.”

He wasn’t completely done, because he was more questions about it.

“The only person I’ve talked to [at Oregon] is [fired coach Mark Helfrich],” Kelly said. “So, we can talk about the Bears.”

And to be clear, he was asked if there’s any chance he’ll be the next Oregon coach.

“No,” he said.

In fairness to Kelly, he’s in a situation where he can’t say anything that would suggest he possibly would be leaving for Oregon while his current team is still playing. That reality prompted Nick Saban to paint himself into an “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach” corner a decade ago, when he was in his second season with the Dolphins.

Regardless of what Kelly says he’ll do, the Oregon vacancy gives him an occasion to have a frank discussion with owner Jed York about Kelly’s status with the team. If York is anything less than fully committed to Kelly, now is the time to say so.

If York is thinking he made a mistake with Kelly, the Oregon opening provides a prime opportunity to fix it. To the extent that Kelly would be making nearly as much at Oregon as he’ll be making in San Francisco, a severance would allow the 49ers to move on without adding a second buyout to the Jim Tomsula money-for-nothing arrangement.

If York truly is committed to Kelly, this would be a perfect opportunity to parlay potential Oregon interest into acquiring more authority over the football operation, especially if the 49ers will be parting ways with G.M. Trent Baalke. Indeed, if Baalke will be gone, it becomes critical for Kelly to ensure that he won’t be saddled with a G.M. who may not be committed to Kelly. In the event that the wind is blowing in that direction, it would be better for Kelly to get blown out of the Bay Area at a time when an opportunity is waiting for him in Oregon.

This assumes that Oregon would even want him. In the aftermath of his first tenure with the team, NCAA sanctions left Oregon with three years of scholarship reductions and reduced paid visits and evaluation days. So it’s possible that Kelly is saying he won’t be going to Oregon because he already knows that Oregon doesn’t want him.

Next, possibly, will come a report that Kelly is telling the truth that he’s not leaving, followed by Kelly declaring that the report he’s telling the truth is accurate.

However it all plays out, the only thing that currently can be said with certainty is that he’s not going to be the Alabama coach.

17 responses to “Chip Kelly reiterates that he won’t be returning to Oregon

  1. In simple terms, this is leverage for Kelly.

    Like it stated in the article, he can attempt to parlay the leverage into more personnel control.

    However, that doesn’t seem likely as Baalke is York’s Yes Man — much like Tomsula was when he was hired as 49ers head coach. Baalke does York’s bidding, and thus, in York’s eyes, Baalke can do no wrong.

    More likely, a Kelly departure would come sooner than a Baalke axing.

  2. Based on what happened in Philly, York would have to be crazy to give Kelly any more control than he already has…

    Or course that’s assuming that York isn’t already crazy…

  3. Maybe if they build a new stadium with state of the art facilities, paid for by the public, they’ll turn things around in Santa Clara.

  4. While I understand he had some success at the college level and as an NFL coach he’s been brutal – he’ll likely get some offers from NCAA teams but I don’t see him ever being there on the same level of Nick Saban, Urban Meyer or even the Hairball.

    He’s a good college coach but not a guy that could say walk into Texas and win a NC.

  5. A 49er fan here who hated to see Harbaugh leave, can’t stand York and who hasn’t been impressed with the drafting and personnel moves by Baalke.

    I was not a fan of the hiring of Kelly but that being said I would rather have had him than Shanahan.

    All that being said, I think Kelly needs to be around a minimum of 3 years, show some improvement before firing him and starting all over again. I can’t stand when teams have a one and done coach hiring (Cleveland) nothing changes and they remain a bad team. Let the man earn the money they paid him.

  6. Philly was in contention every year he coached them, the 9ers suck bc of upper management. I am not saying Kelly is good coach but if he gets fired would anyone blame him for going back to college? If he pulls a Petrino/Saban thats one thing. If he says I am staying in the NFL and then gets fired, I wouldnt call him a quitter just unfit to be a HC in the NFL like alot of other guys. Id find it hard to criticize him if he went back to college if he gets fired after this year, although Baalke is really no help for him at all.

  7. He really is kinda tone deaf. Because when people ask you if you expect to be leaving, given that your track record currently isn’t so hot, and your reputation a bit precedes you, then you should be knowing that you’re not going to be in your current position much longer.

    He has no business being in the NFL as a HC and frankly I’m wondering whether he’s fit to be a college HC as well.

  8. liquidzoo says:
    Nov 30, 2016 3:03 PM
    Based on what happened in Philly, York would have to be crazy to give Kelly any more control than he already has…

    Or course that’s assuming that York isn’t already crazy…


    Ill play devils advocate and say this: The Eagles were in contention every year he coached and even his last year when he had personnel. He only had 1 year of that under his belt, who knows how the Eagles would be in year 2? Alonso and Murray look better this year. Maxwell kinda stinks. Foles and Bradford both sucked. I am not defending Kelly, I think he was wrong to not adapt to his players skill set and force his scheme on them. (He actually wanted Frank Gore over Murray however), Anyways we are judging Kelly off less than 1 season of personnel, while Baalke has shown to be incompetent. Scot McCloughan and Harbaugh were the reason for the 9ers success early in Baalke’s tenure. I am not sure if giving Kelly more power would make the 9ers better but it couldnt make them worse. Yes he made the Eagles worse but we have a small sample size.

  9. The local press is playing up the solution they’re calling ‘The Full Shanahan.’ The elder as President of Football Operations, his son Kyle as head coach and someone like Scott Pioli as GM. This, or something like this might be the only thing that can bring this team back – as long as Jed steps aside and lets them run things without interference.

  10. He should go back to Oregon. He knows Oregon up and down and his new car scent has worn off in the NFL. If he doesn’t go back to Oregon now he’ll end up coaching at some mid level program like Kansas St. or something in two years.

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