Oh, the Oregon Ducks thought they'd get him back for one last dance. Here it was, one more chance for Oregon and Chip Kelly to chase history and titles and legacies.
And then he was gone.
There went Kelly, off in a blaze of smoke to the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly had wrested most of what he wanted from Philly: Power, control, salary, personnel decisions, and everything he could possibly want from an NFL organization to replicate his time in Oregon. Kelly will have most of the autonomy he wants to build the team he wants and a fine group of personnel to get things started..
This has always been what it's been about with Kelly and an NFL job: Control. He wants not only to dominate the NFL on his terms, but he wants to do it with total control over the process. He wants to make sure he gets the players he wants that he believes fits his system. He then wants to coach those players to execute his schemes at full tilt. And he no longer has to worry about limited practice hours. He'll have all the time in the world this off-season to have his Philadelphia Eagles clicking to the type of offensive rhythm he wants to see them exhibit.
Chip could finally be free of all the nagging details of college football that he absolutely dreaded. He no longer has to kiss up to boosters not named Phil Knight, some of whom had reportedly come to despise him for his refusal to acknowledge them.
Kelly would no longer have to worry about the dreaded long hours of recruiting trips all over the country to convince 17-18 year olds to attend his school. As it turned out, he'd end up in a bit of trouble for that. It's an issue that will plague Oregon long after Kelly's departure. It could haunt his legacy if it ends up causing significant damage to Oregon's football program.
And the media, boy did he and the media not get along. Kelly is quick, terse, and often condescending to reporters, and many in the Oregon beat had grumbled about dwindling access and diminishing stories to cover. He'll probably have to change tune in Philly just a bit to placate a pretty implacable fanbase, but he might very well just keep things the same just to be Chip Kelly.
It'll be a great challenge to succeed in the pros, and Kelly has always been up for challenges. This is the NFL, and college football will always be there for Kelly to come back to if things don't work out. Kelly's stock has never been higher, and after reportedly dropping out of the NFL sweepstakes, he ended up forcing Philadelphia to pursue him a second time.
The whole Chip sweepstakes saga was quintessential Chip. Oregon thought they had brought him back and taken the football. They thought they would get one last shot with Chip and somehow pull this all off.
Turns out it was just one last zone read. Fake the handoff, take off and run for the big play.
And off went Chip Kelly to the NFL, in search of the final big race left for him as a football coach. .