As Chip Kelly looks for an immediate coaching opportunity, he may be looking to attach himself to success.
Chip Kelly became the second San Francisco 49ers’ head coach to be one and done in as many years, after a 2-14 record this season. A return to college coaching for the 2017 season was unlikely, despite a couple of late openings, and Kelly did suggest he was willing to stay in the NFL as an offensive coordinator.
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Kelly interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars early this week, but head coach Doug Marrone ultimately kept Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator. Kelly apparently remains undeterred in pursuit of an NFL opportunity though, and he may be looking toward a friend to find one.
According to Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN, Kelly scheduled a meeting with the New England Patriots after being passed over by the Jaguars. Kelly and Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick are friends and exchange football ideas, dating back to Belichick picking Kelly’s brain about his signature fast-paced offense at Oregon.
It’s unclear if Kelly has already visited Belichick, or if a meeting is still coming at some point, since the Patriots are kind of busy right now preparing for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. If they win, a day during the off-week heading into Super Bowl LI could be a good time to meet with Kelly. Otherwise, a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers would theoretically leave Belichick with plenty of time to talk to Kelly.
Josh McDaniels’ decision to stay on as offensive coordinator, for at least one more season, means there is not an obvious opening for Kelly on New England’s coaching staff. But Belichick could certainly create a role if he feels Kelly can bring value.
After next season, Kelly will surely be a top candidate for any head coaching job at the college level. But he seems intent on not taking a year off, even it means taking a lesser title under Belichick with the Patriots.