There's been a lot of crazy speculation about Chip Kelly's future recently. Some reports indicate he might not be back with the Eagles next season. Other reports suggest the Eagles might be able to trade him to the Tennessee Titans. Kelly was even connected to the USC vacancy before the Trojans made a new permanent hire on Monday. But for all the speculation that points to Kelly being gone, not everyone is so convinced he won't be back.
Peter King wrote the following in his weekly The MMQB column:
Just as I didn’t think Saban was going anywhere (he told me so, twice, in the last month before he left), I don’t think Kelly is going anywhere either, because I don’t think he’s a quitter. When he was at Oregon, it wasn’t as if he was necessarily in the place where he could see himself coaching forever. When he got the Eagles’ job I thought part of it was for the challenge of competing on a level playing field, not one where the corporate and alumni world can make such a difference in winning and losing. One more observation: Had Saban signed Drew Brees in 2006 instead of listening to team medics who told him Brees’ shoulder surgery would make that season iffy for the quarterback, there’s a good chance the Dolphins would have at least one Super Bowl in the last decade and Saban would still be in Miami. And if Sam Bradford had worked out and played great—there is still time, but Bradford hasn’t played well enough to erase the doubts people had on him before the March trade to Philadelphia—these questions about Kelly’s future would be moot. Gut feeling: Unless Jeffrey Lurie gets Tennessee’s first-round pick for Kelly, and Kelly’s serious about re-starting his NFL life in Tennessee next year (with his former Oregon QB, Marcus Mariota), Kelly stays. With Lurie’s full support.
King later appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and gave some more thoughts on the Kelly situation.
DAN PATRICK: Is there any possibility that Chip Kelly, if he does leave, would even go back to college football?
PETER KING: Dan, I think the best way to answer that question is … Chip Kelly doesn’t really talk to many people in the coaching business. He kind of reminds me of Jimmy Johnson. People in the pro football world didn’t know him very well, and even college football. He would never call up guys and say ‘Hey, what do you think?'
So anybody who says 'Yeah, I talked to Chip, and here’s what he said,"… I’d be surprised. He’s just not a guy who sidles up to people and says here’s what you think.
However, I’ll just say that Andy Reid coached in Philadelphia for 14 years. The last six years he won one playoff game. And it wasn’t until after that sixth year when he went whatever he did, 4-12, that Jeff Lurie decided that it’s time for a change.
So if Chip Kelly jumps, he’s going to have to jump on his own because it’s not going to be a case where Jeff Lurie is going to go to him on January 4th and say ‘We want you out.'
In addition, I’ve been told by people in Philadelphia who know that Kelly is absolutely resolute about finishing the job there. Now whether he does get to finish the job there two, three years from now, who knows? But personally my feeling is Kelly is going to be back in 2016 coaching the Eagles.
King's point about Lurie being patient is certainly worth considering. Is Lurie really willing to give up on Kelly just one year after entrusting him with the powers of being a general manager? It's the question that remains to be answered. It's sure going to be difficult for Lurie to keep his faith in Kelly if the Eagles continue to get blown out like they have in the past two weeks.