Chip Kelly’s time in the NFL has been, shall we say, less than ideal. His coaching record is an unremarkable 27-30.

After going 10-6 in his first two seasons as the Eagles’ head coach, he struggled in his third year and was fired in 2015. Oh, and before he was fired, he inexplicably traded All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy for linebacker Kiko Alonso (he also acted as Philadelphia’s head of football operations).

So, with Kelly having another miserable year with San Francisco (the 49ers are 1-10), would he consider returning to the college ranks? And if he did, could you even blame him? I mean, the man was 46-7 as an NCAA head coach. That’s not just good; it’s amazing.

Oregon fired coach Mark Helfrich, Kelly’s former offensive coordinator (2009-12), earlier this week on Nov. 29. The Ducks finished their season 4-8, and the program has not been able to sustain the excellence of The Kelly Era.

Helfrich said he would not begrudge Kelly if he took his old job at Oregon on ESPN Radio’s Russillo and Kannel Friday (transcribed here by The Oregonian).

“I just wanted to let him know that to take our personal relationship out of it in every shape and form if he wanted to consider this,” Helfrich said. “But reading between the lines, I think he wants to make it right in the NFL. I think he wants to win at that level. He’s had a rough go of it this year, but he’ll make it right.”

Would Helfrich rejoin Kelly as his offensive leader? That’s anyone’s guess. But he does think Kelly would maintain some of Helfrich’s staff. Job stability for others is always a concern when a head coach is fired.

“When you start thinking of your assistants and your support staff, if he were to come back, some of those people would be safe,” Helfrich said. “Just trying to take all the personal relationship out of it, remove me from the equation, and let him think of it that way.”

Clearly Kelly has at least entertained the thought of returning to college (Nick Saban did it!) if Helfrich had this conversation with him. It’s all conjecture at this point, and Kelly emphatically shot down the rumors earlier this week. Then again—isn’t that what coaches do?

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