Oregon Duck football fans breathed a collective sigh of relief this Monday, when Chip Kelly spurned the NFL to return to the Ducks sideline for another year.
In the days leading up to the Fiesta Bowl, Kelly was rumored to be filling his calendar with meetings with NFL front offices. While he consistently claimed that his sole focus was on the game and not his future with the team, many fans remained unconvinced.
University of Oregon student Connor Beesemyer was one supporter doubtful of Kelly’s return, “I thought the NFL would offer him enough money to leave this time.” As Beesemyer alluded to, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost lured Kelly away from the college ranks following the Ducks’ 2012 Rose Bowl victory, which only compounded the likelihood of his departure this time around.
The morning following the Fiesta Bowl, Kelly reportedly met with two teams for extensive talks. The next day, he attended his final meeting.
Things looked bleak. Yet, some Duck fans remained optimistic. University of Oregon student Ben Kendall explained, “It seemed like everyone expected him to leave, but Chip would never really do the expected. It just doesn’t seem like him.”
Kendall’s prediction was spot on. On Monday morning, the team released a statement saying Chip Kelly would remain head coach of the Oregon Ducks.
Duck fans were ecstatic. However, for Beesemyer the decision spoke to something more important: Kelly’s character. “It shows that he is a respectable guy who wants to stay with kids who are growing, instead of going to the pros where people just play for money.”