It was inevitable. The moment USC fired its head football coach, you knew Chip Kelly would be asked about the vacancy. Over the weekend, after the Trojans lost 62-41 to Arizona State, the University of Southern California fired Lane Kiffin. USC is 3-2 and has lost seven of its last 11 games. The Trojans went 28-15 in four seasons under Kiffin. That’s not nearly good enough at USC, which might be why Kiffin was so unceremoniously dismissed. (There were reports that he was fired in the parking lot at a private Los Angeles airport.)
Kiffin’s dismissal naturally led to speculation about his replacement. One NFL.com analyst named Kelly as one of the top candidates for the gig. That, in turn, led to increased speculation and interest on USC message boards and college football sites.
During Thursday’s press conference at the NovaCare Complex, Kelly was asked about the job and what he might do if USC reached out. Kelly initially said he doesn’t “deal with hypotheticals.” When pressed on whether he would “entertain” an offer from USC, Kelly said “no.”
“I’m the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles,” Kelly replied. “I’m very, very excited to be here. I’m not entertaining anything like that. I’m here.”
In January, Kelly left Oregon and agreed to a five-year contract with the Eagles worth a reported $32.5 million. In June, after an investigation that lasted more than two years, the NCAA sanctioned Kelly and Oregon.
Kelly was hit with an 18-month “show cause” which mandates that any NCAA-member school interested in hiring him must appear before the Committee on Infractions. The NCAA could then impose restrictions on that school.
Following the sanctions, Kelly released the following statement: “Now that the NCAA has concluded their investigation and penalized the University of Oregon and its football program, I want to apologize to the University of Oregon, all of its current and former players and their fans. I accept my share of responsibility for the actions that led to the penalties. As I have I stated before, the NCAA investigation and subsequent ruling had no impact on my decision to leave Oregon for Philadelphia. I have also maintained throughout that I had every intention to cooperate with the NCAA’s investigation, which I did."
- John Gonzalez, CSN Philly