Chip Kelly has had just one interview since being sacked by the Eagles during Week 15 of the regular season—there are six National Football League teams currently without the services of a head coach. The one team he did interview with, the San Francisco 49ers, are reportedly close to coming to terms with Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, certainly leaving Kelly to wonder what’s ahead.
Kelly, like Hue Jackson, was targeted for his success on offense. During Kelly’s first season, Philadelphia’s offense ranked second in the league, and fifth during his second season—the 49ers offense has ranked 20 or lower in 11 of the past 12 seasons.
Kelly was also viewed as a possible candidate to reinvent the embattled quarterbacking skills of Colin Kaepernick. While a head coach at Oregon, Kelly became notorious for offensive schemes with a highly mobile quarterback. The quarterback he molded while at Oregon —Heisman Trophy winner, Marcus Mariota— is currently without a head coach. However, the Tennessee Titans have already stated they are not interested in Kelly’s services. Tennessee are wary of Kelly is that he presided over a number of quarterback injuries in Philadelphia—a fate the team badly wants to avoid with Mariota.
But perhaps the reason he was fired by the Eagles, is the same reason Harbaugh was fired from the 49ers. Matt Lombardo of 97.5 The Fanatic FM reported that Kelly has been described as “toxic” by multiple NFL sources at his disposal.
Chip might be taking the hint—over the weekend, it was reported, and later confirmed by Nick Saban, that he was visiting the Alabama Crimson Tide football team in Arizona as they prepare for Monday night’s National Championship game. Kelly is a friend, Saban said, and was in the neighborhood, so he decided naturally to stop by for a visit.
“Well, Chip Kelly is a good friend of myself and a lot of coaches on our staff, and he just happened to be in the area and he stopped by and visited with us for a little bit,” Saban said Saturday morning, “and not really anything of significance relative to this game.”
Eerily similar to the visit current Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin made in 2014 just before the Tides contest against the Sooners in the Sugar Bowl. At the time, Kiffin’s visit had been described as a “consulting trip.”
“It was good to have Chip come in and just spend some time with him, talk about some different things,” Kiffin said. “It was really good to see him. I’ve always had a good relationship with him, and it’s always good to be able to bring some people in to get some ideas from.”
David Barclay is an NFL Insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DJamesIII