Does anyone who is still pining over Chip Kelly have any pride?
He left you for a hotter, sexier option that offered more money and a chance at the true big time.
He ditched you for the glamor of the NFL and hasn't come close to returning to the state. If he has, he sure kept a low profile.
We've seen Marcus Mariota and Hroniss Grasu around Eugene. LaMichael James lives in the Portland area. So does Dennis Dixon. Kenjon Barner has attended UO practices. Jake Fisher. Tyler Johnstone. They've been spotted.
Kelly sightings? Nope.
Yet still some fans harbor fantasies that the San Francisco 49ers coach would consider returning to the state to coach the Ducks? The idea has even been floated here and there within the media.
Who comes up with this nonsense?
A reporter asked Kelly on Monday if he would consider returning to Oregon.
Kelly replied: "No. I'm the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. So, I'm not looking at anything else."
Another reporter asked Kelly if he had heard from any colleges about job offers.
"Nope," Kelly said, shaking his head.
Of course, what's he supposed to say? During preparation for his final game at Oregon, the 2013 Fiesta Bowl, he insisted he hadn't had any contact with NFL teams. Two weeks later, he was headed to Philadelphia.
San Francisco is 1-6 and there are already rumors that Kelly could get fired after one season. After all, the 49ers clearly have winning talent (sarcasm).
Maybe he does get blown out after one season. But just because he once coached at Oregon and Ducks coach Mark Helfrich is on the hot seat with a 2-5 record this season, doesn't mean Kelly would return to Eugene, or that UO would even welcome him back.
Yep. Let that possibility sink in for a moment. Why do people even assume that Oregon would welcome back Kelly?
Paul Finebaum, an SEC guru, appeared on television recently and offered up a veiled idea that Kelly could possibly return to Oregon. He clearly has never met Kelly.
I realize fans of Oregon and those associated with the program believe the Ducks hung the moon and that anyone in their right mind would want to coach UO to glory. But let's review the scorecard that would be filled out if Kelly were to return to Oregon. It's not pretty:
- He left Oregon for the NFL after only four years as head coach and having been hailed as an offensive genius, only to have that idea destroyed at the next level.
- He failed with the Eagles and got fired after making questionable trades and alienating players and front office personnel.
- He would have failed in San Francisco by making the already horrid 49ers even worse while once again demonstrating that his no-huddle offense is no friend to a bad defense in a league where teams have close to equal talent.
- He would return to Oregon a failure having to admit to the world that he couldn't hack it at the next level.
- He would be doing so knowing that the Pac-12 is far better now than it was when he left it with most teams now running spread, no-huddle attacks and racking up huge points like his teams did from 2009 through 2012.
- He would look north to Seattle to find a No. 4-ranked Washington team in full swing and led by a coaching equal, Chris Petersen.
- He would be reminded that he can't survive off recruiting in the state of Oregon and still must recruit nationally as the coach whose star is on the decline, not on the rise.
- Speaking of recruiting, sources say he hated it.
- He also hated sucking up to boosters. He hated alumni events. Heck, he would Skype in for his weekly address to the Portland booster club because he didn't want to make the weekly drive from Eugene as Mike Bellotti had done for decades.
- He would know that if he failed at Oregon during his second tenure he would cement the idea that his prior success was based on a gimmick that flamed out in the NFL and, although potent, has been copied by many, thus rendering his version no longer unique.
Sources at Oregon laugh at the mere speculation that Kelly would ever return to the Ducks. Any fan's fascination and love for him far outweighs his affinity for Eugene. Oregon was a job to him. It might have been a special one given that it's where he got his big break after being at New Hampshire, but it was still just a job. A stepping stone. People don't climb back down unless they have to. Kelly wouldn't have to, even if he were fired by San Francisco.
No, Kelly will hold on in the NFL as long as he can. If he is fired in San Francisco he would be done as a head coach in the NFL unless he returns to college and duplicates his success at Oregon.
But if he is faced with that quandary, he would not choose Oregon as his launching pad. He would choose a much more appetizing option with a larger stadium and far deeper recruiting base. He would choose a better job.
Places such as USC, Texas or LSU could be coach hunting this offseason. These programs have far more juice than Oregon. They are places where he could potentially build another winner then entice an NFL team to give him a third shot.
There could come a day when Kelly has no choice but to take a look at Oregon. Maybe he will continue to struggle to find success no matter where he lands. By then, maybe the local fascination with Kelly will have worn off.
But as long as he has any juice at all, he isn't going to return to Oregon unless its a last resort. And if that ends up being the case, would the program even want him back?