Chip Kelly will coach his Oregon team against Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl tonight and, when the game is over, he’ll turn his attention to the other thing on his plate: being the scaldingly hottest name on the NFL coaching scene.
Kelly will interview with three of the seven NFL teams that are searching for head coaches: Buffalo, Cleveland and Philadelphia, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA Today. He’s the top choice to replace Pat Shurmur, whom the Browns fired Monday, and Andy Reid, who was fired by the Eagles on Monday. The Bills dumped Chan Gailey.
First things first, though. “I’ve got a game to play,” Kelly said Wednesday. “We’re playing in the Fiesta Bowl. That’s the biggest thing in my life. If I allowed other things to get into my life, then they would be distractions, but they aren’t. Our focus 100 percent is on the Fiesta Bowl.”
Kelly, 45-7 in four years with the Ducks, has done this tango before, with a more limited dance card. He turned down an offer to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a year ago, saying he had “unfinished business” in Oregon. This year, the Ducks are ranked fifth in the nation, but there are possible NCAA sanctions ahead because of recruiting violations under Kelly. That might make Cleveland, Buffalo or Philadelphia look sunnier.
“My heart is to win today and that’s it,” Kelly said. “I know everybody wants to hear a different answer. And I know that at times when I don’t give you guys the answer that you guys want, then I’m being evasive. I’m not being evasive.”
Perhaps not, but he’s going to have a busy weekend in Phoenix.