The grace period is certainly over for Chip Kelly.
His radical ideas about how to run a football team have not shown success in his third season at the helm of the Eagles, and amid some ugly losses heading into Thanksgiving, ESPN insider Adam Schefter stirred the pot with comments made earlier this week.
Schefter first told Sirius XM radio the following:
“I think the momentum and signs seem to be piling up against a Chip [Kelly] return to Philadelphia. I think both sides are sick of each other. I think the fans are tired of him. I think he’s tired of the situation there. That’s just my read from afar.”
“I just think that Chip Kelly, if given a choice, might be comfortable elsewhere,” he added.
But then on 97.5 The Fanatic, the analyst walked back saying:
“I was completely taken aback by the way that was portrayed. I never said his days in Philadelphia are numbered. I never said he’s out after this year. I think there’s a question as to whether or not Chip will be back next year. Is that an unfair statement? That’s my belief talking to various people, and we’ll see how it plays out.”
It is understood that barring some kind of crazy drama in the next few weeks, Kelly will be finishing the season as Eagles head coach. But will he choose to stay in Philly instead of returning to college where he had great success?
Here are three pieces of evidence for both outcomes:
Chip is staying
- Kelly's contract, signed before the 2013 season, was a five-year deal worth over $32 million. It's a deal that is pretty robust and would be hard to walk away from -- especially if he's not forcibly removed.
- They're still in the running for an NFC East title and playoff berth, even after a 4-6 start through 10 games. If the Eagles can stay within striking distance of the Giants, who are one game ahead, the Birds could have a reasonable shot at the playoffs, especially with a Week 17 match at Giants Stadium on January 3.
- Andy Reid was given the keys to the Eagles franchise. And though his lean times may not have felt as tough to swallow as the current times, under Kelly, Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles have invested a lot in Kelly. He has full roster control and has been overhauling the team for three seasons now. It would set the franchise back by a magnitude to turn their backs on Kelly before he's had enough time to run the show. Kelly wouldn't walk away from having full say with an NFL team -- no matter how tough the media climate is.
Chip is leaving
- There are some pretty great college gigs open, including USC and Maryland. You can bet they each have Kelly at the top of their wish lists.
- After the initial success Kelly saw from his fast-paced offense early in his NFL career, defenses have adjusted and Kelly has not. Perhaps the stale, unevolving scheme Kelly refuses to alter will lead to his decision to leave the NFL ranks.
- Maybe Schefter is right. Maybe the Eagles are sick of Kelly and he is sick of Philadelphia. If so, he could turn in the keys and head elsewhere in 2016. Fans are definitely frustrated and have not gotten over Kelly's decisions to part ways with stars like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and others.