Chip Kelly in the midst of his fourth season in the National Football League, and he is on track to have his worst season yet. With the San Francisco 49ers struggling mightily this season, the talk about Kelly’s future in coaching is already starting to heat up around the NFL, and in college football circles.
Throwing a log onto the Chip Kelly fire today is Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who casually mentions a few potential college football programs who could be in the market for a new head coach this year. Hearing Kelly’s name attached to various coaching rumors in college football is certainly nothing new. We just went through this last year once Kelly’s show cause from the NCAA expired and the Philadelphia Eagles let him go. La Canfora mentioned one job in particular that is already open (LSU) and three others that could potentially become open.
Especially as boosters at top NCAA programs start putting feelers out all over the place. You’ll hear rumors about Jon Gruden and possibly Sean Payton as well (yes, even after just signing that long-term extension). With schools like LSU and Texas and Oregon and Penn State all possibly in that mix, it’s going to heat up soon.
LSU fired Les Miles earlier this season and is now officially in the market for a new head coach. Kelly’s former college program, Oregon, is not yet open, but Mark Helfrich seems to be struggling to keep momentum going for the program since Kelly’s departure to the NFL (and honestly, I’d be all for a Chip Kelly-Oregon reunion).
Texas is not open either, although how much more patience feisty Texas boosters are willing to give Charlie Strong may lead to a change sooner rather than later. Penn State is also not open, with James Franklin an easy target for criticism at times (La Canfora also throws out Mike Munchak as a possibility for Penn State, which I just can’t get all excited about). Penn State is not making a coaching change this year, so forget about that one.
Odds are Kelly won’t be landing any of those jobs, but that doesn’t mean we won’t stop hearing about them. It is becoming pretty clear Kelly’s style may not be able to thrive in the NFL, and he certainly lacks the desire to adapt how he does things. He gave it a shot, but college is where Kelly may belong for the long term.
Kelly will always be welcomed back to the world of college football, and the NFL may be willing to send him back as soon as possible.