After crazy weekend, business as usual for Oregon

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm •  Published: January 7, 2013
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After a weekend rife with rumors and speculation, Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks are right back where they started.

Oregon's enigmatic head coach flirted with a trio of NFL teams over three days before deciding late Sunday to stay with the No. 5 Ducks.

On Monday it was back to business. Kelly was at a coaches' convention in Tennessee. Oregon did not formally announce Kelly's decision — for the school his status hadn't changed, he's still the head coach — but athletic director Rob Mullens told reporters he was obviously "ecstatic" about it.

It was an anticlimactic end to the whirlwind that started soon after Oregon's 35-17 Fiesta Bowl victory over Kansas State on Thursday night.

Kelly was peppered with questions about whether he would entertain NFL offers in the days leading up to the bowl game and immediately after it. He told reporters: "I'll listen and we'll see."

On Friday, he met with the Cleveland Browns. The interview went on for some seven hours, and by the end of the night, sources close to the team were telling the media that Kelly was "close" to signing a deal.

But the next day, Kelly went ahead and met for a reported nine hours with the Philadelphia Eagles about their open coaching position. Somewhere in the midst of all that, he also spoke to the Buffalo Bills.

The roller coaster even took a comical turn when musician Mat Kearney released a song entitled "Chip Don't Go," on YouTube. Kearney, a Eugene native, joked in the song: "They don't have half the heart or the jerseys."

By midday Sunday, The Associated Press learned that the Browns had started looking elsewhere because they weren't sure Kelly's heart was in the NFL.

That night, sources connected to Oregon and the Philadelphia Eagles confirmed an ESPN report that Kelly would remain in Eugene.

Mullens said renegotiation of Kelly's contract with the Ducks was not discussed, and he did not know the details of his coach's decision-making process. Mullens did admit to lobbying for Oregon.

"I don't want to speculate on anything, other than to say I think we have something special here. It's a great place. We have a very passionate fan base. We have a unique culture," Mullens said. "I think it's one of the best jobs in all of football. Not just college football, I think it's one of the best jobs in football. I think that weighs heavily."

Mullens said he was prepared to open a nationwide search for new coach had Kelly decided to leave.

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