If Oregon’s going to end up losing Chip Kelly as most expect, they’ll have to wait a while longer before their current head coach officially pulls the trigger on a future at the next level.
Earlier today NFL.com reported that the Cleveland Browns were close to striking a deal with Kelly that would make him their next head coach. Apparently they weren’t close enough as ESPN‘s Chris Mortensen is reporting that Kelly will continue meeting with NFL clubs after wrapping up seven hours of talks with the Browns earlier in the evening.
According to Mortensen, Kelly and his representative(s) will meet with the Buffalo Bills tonight in Arizona, and then meet with the Philadelphia Eagles at some point Saturday. Where the latter meeting will take place is unclear.
Mortensen notes that the Browns remains are the favorites — “the two sides see no significant obstacles that would prevent a contract being completed” — and that the two sides have agreed to talk again Saturday night after he finishes with the initial conversation with the Eagles. What he doesn’t note, however, is whether there’s any chance Kelly returns to the Ducks for the 2013 season.
The move by Kelly’s team to continue interviewing with other NFL clubs could merely be a ploy to wring every last dollar out of the Browns, who reportedly are prepared to open the vault in an effort to pry Kelly out of Eugene and on to the Cleveland sidelines. Or, it could simply be Kelly viewing all of his NFL options and deciding which would be the best fit — or if a “return” to the Ducks is the best option in the end, looming NCAA sanctions and all.
The collegiate door apparently hasn’t been slammed shut as the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that “a source close to the situation said that [going to the Browns] was not a done deal and that Kelly could entertain other offers or even return to college.” The paper did allow, though, that Kelly is “likely off the market” for the Eagles.
UPDATED 1/5/2013 @ 8:49 a.m. ET: A contingent from the Philadelphia Eagles will fly to Arizona to meet with Kelly Saturday, Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted.