The 49ers fired Chip Kelly last week and the dust has settled a little bit. As San Francisco looks to move on, the former two-time NFL head coach could be returning home — in more ways than one.
Several outlets have reported rumors that, after Cal fired Sonny Dykes on Sunday, Chip Kelly could be a perfect fit to return to his area of expertise — running a low-expectations Pac 12 football program.
However Kelly has repeatedly said on the record he does not want to return to the college game. Many have observed that the one-time Oregon offensive coordinator and head coach did not enjoy the recruiting process and would prefer to stick to pro football.
Getting another NFL head coaching gig is not on the table right now and Kelly knows it — but he has said he is open to working as an assistant.
“I’ll go be an offensive coordinator somewhere,” Kelly told Fox’s Jay Glazer.
One possible landing spot? New England.
Right now, Josh McDaniels is in the midst of what he hopes is a deep playoff run as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, but with a bevy of head coaching jobs currently open, McDaniels is one of the top desired assistants teams hope to interview.
If a team is able to sway McDaniels away from Bill Belichick, the coach could invite his close friend Kelly to join him in New England (it’s another home for Kelly, who grew up and broke into coaching in New Hampshire).
According to reports from CBS Sports and other outlets, after Kelly was ousted from Philadelphia after the 2015 season, Belichick offered to have Kelly “spend some time” with him in New England. What exactly the Pats’ coach meant is not completely understood, but what is understood is that the two are close friends and seem to be itching to work together.
Whether the Kelly-style no huddle offense would work with Tom Brady under center, now pushing 40, is a big question mark — but that doesn’t seem like reason enough to keep an offensive mastermind (well, sort of) from getting another chance.
The Kelly system saw seemingly revolutionary on-field results when he first took over the Eagles in 2013, boasting the NFL’s second best offense and an NFC East title. But things went down hill during his next two seasons after he was given control of Philadelphia’s personnel (he got rid of LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin). Perhaps Kelly will shine brighter when focusing solely on a team’s offensive scheme.