Turns out, it’s not just Chip Kelly’s offense that’s deceptive.
Ten days after it was announced he was staying at Oregon for at least one more season, Kelly bolted for the NFL challenge of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Recruiting for Oregon on Tuesday, he was gone from the program by Wednesday afternoon, a getaway as quick as one of Oregon’s scoring drives the past four years, when Kelly led the Ducks to a 46-7 record, a run of success that rivals any in Pac-12 history.
Details were still emerging Wednesday as to the contract Kelly will receive from the Eagles, as well as the control he will have running the organization.
Both items are probably more in his favor than they would have been had he agreed to the job when he reportedly held initial interviews with the Eagles the day after the Jan. 3 Fiesta Bowl. Especially control, which was thought to be the deal-breaker when Kelly turned down an offer from Tampa Bay last winter.
The ominous specter of potential NCAA penalties for Oregon related to a still ongoing investigation might also have played a role in his decision to accept the Eagles’ job the second time around.
The Ducks truly took flight once Kelly brought his new-age offense to Eugene in 2007, when he was hired as offensive coordinator. So, too, did their dominance over UW strengthen when he arrived — the Ducks have scored 43 or more points against UW in five of six games since then, gaining at least 496 yards in all but one game, as well.
All Oregon’s coaches were, of course, buoyed greatly by the open and fat wallet of Nike founder Phil Knight.
That Knight’s largesse remains will lead many to conclude the Ducks won’t miss a beat, especially if they hire offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich as his replacement, as has been widely reported.
Promoting Helfrich would allow the most successful aspect of Kelly’s Oregon teams — the quick-tempo spread option offense — to remain. It also would follow the time-honored Oregon tradition of promoting an up-and-coming offensive coordinator to replace a departing head coach — Bellotti replacing Brooks in 1995, and Kelly taking over for Bellotti in 2009.
Early word is also that many of Kelly’s assistants — a few of whom have been at Oregon since the Brooks era — will stay in Eugene, a continuity the Ducks will count on to keep the good times rolling.