49ers formally inform Chip Kelly that he's no longer their head coach

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The San Francisco 49ers announced on Sunday evening that both general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly were “relieved of their duties” with the team.

There were reports on Saturday night that the team would be cleaning house, and Baalke affirmed during his pregame radio appearance on Sunday that he had been fired after six years. However, there was no confirmation of Kelly’s status until the team made the move official.

It is the second time in a year Kelly has been fired; last season, he was let go by the Philadelphia Eagles before the regular-season finale of his third year with the team. But as sentiment started to grow that Niners CEO Jed York might part ways with Baalke, it became obvious that Kelly might be collateral damage; any new general manager would want to hire his own guy as coach, not be forced to work with Kelly.

Chip Kelly, in his final postgame press conference as 49ers coach. (AP)
Chip Kelly, in his final postgame news conference as 49ers coach. San Francisco lost to Seattle. (AP)

San Francisco finished a 2-14 regular season on Sunday with a loss in Seattle; the team’s two wins came against the Los Angeles Rams.

In a statement, York said this about the moves and the men he fired:

“I have informed Trent and Chip of my decision to pursue new leadership for our football team. These types of conversations are never easy, especially when they involve people you respect personally and professionally.

“Trent gave this organization every ounce of effort he had over the last 12 years and his contributions were integral to the team reaching three straight NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl. I will forever be grateful for his dedication to the 49ers, and his friendship to me and my family. I wish Trent, Beth and their daughters the very best in whatever the future holds for their family.

“Chip has my gratitude for the job he did this year, navigating the team through some adverse circumstances. I look forward to watching his career continue to unfold, and wish him and Jill great success in life.

“Despite my feelings for Trent and Chip, I felt the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary. The performance of this team has not lived up to my expectations or those of our fans, and that is truly disappointing. We all expected to see this team progress and develop as the season went on, but unfortunately that did not happen. That is why now is the time to find a new direction for this team.”

There is a lot of work to be done in San Francisco, for both the next GM and head coach: the roster is very thin, but the team will have roughly $80 million under the salary cap to sign free agents and restock the roster.

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