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Update: Chip Kelly ends his first NFL fling (for now)

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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Chip Kelly does everything else fast, so it probably shouldn't come as any surprise that it took him just a few hours to make up his mind on serious overtures from the NFL. But on the heels of late-breaking headlines Sunday night confirming his pending exit from Oregon, it turns out even college football's most celebrated leadfoot is susceptible to a bout of cold feet. From The Register-Guard:

University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly told a highly placed UO source late Sunday night that he has reversed course and decided to turn down an offer from the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The source told The Register-Guard earlier Sunday night that Kelly had reached an agreement to become Tampa Bay's head coach. "It's done," the source said.

Just before midnight, Kelly changed his mind, telling the source: "I'm staying."

Kelly told one assistant coach Sunday night that he had been offered the Tampa Bay job, but Kelly told him he wasn't certain what he would do.

As of Monday morning, Kelly has apparently decided to stick with the program he's built into a consistent national contender in Eugene, at least temporarily defusing visions of a ticking NCAA time bomb in the process. The fit just wasn't right: Kelly is a career college coach with just three years as a head coach under his belt, just five years removed from the offensive coordinator gig at New Hampshire. The wildly productive system he's honed and perfected over the last decade likely will not translate well to the next level, especially on a team with a 250-pound starting quarterback who's not much of a threat to run. Kelly's not a young man (he turned 48 in November), but at this point in his career, a move to the next level would be primarily an exercise in ego, waiting to blow up in everyone's face in two or three years.

Besides: NCAA investigation notwithstanding, there's no reason he can't finish what he started at Oregon by winning a national championship. Now that the whole NFL thing is (presumably) over, the pedal is hereby cleared for return to the metal.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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