Chip Kelly is apparently trying to foil the rumors of his imminent return to the college ranks after this season.
Quoting unnamed sources close to Kelly, ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the San Francisco 49ers head coach has no intention of leaving his post to return to Oregon or any other college.
“No. I’m the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers,” Kelly said last week when asked if he’d considered going back to Oregon. “So, not looking at anything else. I’m here.”
But that hasn’t stopped the speculation from swirling. Portland, Oregon newspaper The Oregonian suggested last week that if the Oregon job did in fact open up, Kelly would likely fill it. The idea also gained some merit when Oregon alum and Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight showed up at the 49ers game last week as Kelly’s guest.
A number of other signs also point to the possibility. Both San Francisco and Oregon are in the midst of dreadful seasons. The Ducks are 3-6 after losing to USC 45-20 on Saturday and San Francisco is 1-7 after Sunday’s loss to the Saints.
Ultimately, though, the decision will probably lie with the 49ers front office. And considering Kelly just signed a four-year, $24 million contract in January, a good argument exists for both sides of the coin—-either San Fran can cut its losses right along with ties to their first-year head coach or stick with him for another year or so and see if he can right the ship.
Either way, it appears to be out of his hands.