Forget about why Chip Kelly will stay at Oregon for a moment. Maybe he played the NFL interest into a substantial raise funded by booster and Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Maybe he didn't get quite the concessions he wanted from pro teams. Perhaps he didn't interview too well with pro teams. Those details will start to trickle in.
Here's the immediate, obvious impact: This is enormous for the Oregon football program.
ESPN reported that Kelly had turned down the Philadelphia Eagles and decided to return to the Ducks, and The Oregonian confirmed that report through a UO source. It seemed it would take a miracle for Oregon to keep Kelly again. He had an offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, and had multiple teams talk to him in the few days since the Fiesta Bowl. Oregon, aware of the possibility of Kelly leaving, had reportedly decided on a successor even before the Fiesta Bowl.
But then Oregon hit its Hail Mary. It kept its coach despite strong NFL interest. The Ducks, who have come so close to winning a national title under Kelly, are as schematically sound as any team in the nation, and its recruiting is at an elite level. Maybe that would have continued without Kelly, but Oregon doesn't have to worry about that hypothetical for the immediate future.
There is the matter of Oregon's probable upcoming meeting with the NCAA's committee on infractions regarding the football program's relationship with prep adviser Will Lyles, something that seemed like it might push Kelly into the pro realm. But apparently Kelly isn't worried. After the Fiesta Bowl he was asked about the possible NCAA punishment.
"We've cooperated fully with them," Kelly said. "If they want to talk to us again, we'll continue to cooperate fully. I feel confident in the situation."
Kelly never said he would leave. He said he would listen. He said he would use the interviews as a fact-finding mission. It turns out, that's exactly what happened.
No matter what went on behind the scenes or what made up Kelly's mind to stay, Oregon fans are unlikely to care too much. The Ducks' brilliant coach will be back. Oregon can plan on remaining a national contender as long as he sticks around.
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