It's the 'Chip Kelly Sweepstakes' but Chip's playing it real cool

It's the 'Chip Kelly Sweepstakes' but Chip's playing it real cool
December 31, 2012, 8:58 pm

By DWIGHT JAYNES
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Chip Kelly keeps his cards real close to his vest. We all know he doesn't give away much to the media, but he's pretty much that way with everybody.

Discussions with players, assistant coaches, staff at the University of Oregon and Kelly himself Monday confirmed Kelly's silence in regard to the possibility that he could leave the Ducks for a job in the National Football League.

He isn't talking about it, not even to those whose future employment rests on his decision.

By mid-day on what has become known as "Black Monday," seven NFL head coaches had been fired. Kelly's name immediately became associated with the open jobs in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Carolina, even though the latter job hadn't even become open. And that was just in the first few hours after those positions became open.

There is little doubt that Kelly's agent, David Dunn, is already fielding phone calls from NFL front offices while Kelly prepares his team for the Fiesta Bowl. There is little doubt that if you want to hire a college coach to run your NFL team, Chip Kelly is the sexy candidate.

It's an unsettling time for those around the program, make no mistake. According to several sources, Kelly has not discussed his situation or his plans with his coaching staff. Assistant coaches serve, most of the time, at the behest of the head coach. If Kelly leaves, many of the current assistants would be in jeopardy of losing their jobs when a new coach comes in.

This is a staff that has had no turnover at all during Kelly's tenure and, in fact, has a core of assistants who have been at the university for decades.

Apparently none know anything about what Kelly plans to do.

Certainly, by Friday morning he'll be entertaining offers at a time when the combination of his recent success along with the volume and variety of NFL opportunities might provide him his best chance to jump. Also, an NCAA investigation is coming to a close and the Ducks may be near sanctions that would preclude bowl participation over the next season or two.

"He plays his cards so close to the vest," said one source immersed in the program. "He doesn't talk about any of this. There are assistant coaches here who have gone to four BCS bowls in a row and aren't sure if they're going to have a job here next season. People are in the dark, totally.

"It's a unique situation."

Kelly, of course, doesn't talk about it with his players, either.

"I never said a word to our guys about it," he said Monday. "I don't think about it. They don't think about it."

Perhaps. Kelly's focus is legendary. But as soon as the Fiesta Bowl ends Thursday night, he's going to have a big decision to make in a relatively short amount of time. And that decision is going to impact a great many others. !function(d,s,id)var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)0;if(!d.getElementById(id))js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="platform.twitter.comwidgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);(document,"script","twitter-wjs");