The Suburbanite
  • Todd Porter: Chip Kelly may just be what the Browns need

  • Kelly’s involved with Ducks, but not committed to anything past tonight’s bowl game

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  • tporter 1/2/13 Kelly’s involved with Ducks, but not committed to anything past tonight’s bowl game
    syndication keywords: browns, spts. There is a shot of Chip Kelly zoped
    All the way out in the desert — a million miles away from a substandard NFL team trying to bathe in the clean, fresh water of new ownership — Chip Kelly didn’t sound like a guy willing to commit to Oregon forever.
    He didn’t make any grand promises to stay at Oregon until they named a building after him. He dodged questions about NFL owners chasing him down the streets of Scottsdale with the checkbooks open.
    All Kelly committed to was tonight’s Fiesta Bowl against Kansas State. He is a witty man, known for one-liners. Someone created and dedicated a twitter account (@chipisms) to his cut-to-the chase press conference style.
    When a reporter asked Kelly on Wednesday if he expected to get offers after turning down Tampa last year, Kelly didn’t miss a beat. He turned a line into a laugh.
    “I’m waiting for an offer from you,” Kelly said. “I will listen and I am excited if you do want to give me a call.”
    OK, reporters are crafty.
    They turned the same question into different words.
    Does Kelly expect to field offers in the next week?
    “I don’t expect anything,” he said. “I said this a million times. I’m never surprised by anything. I do not know what the future holds. I do know we have a football game (tonight) and I’m going to be there.”
    The difference between involvement and commitment is like an eggs-and-bacon breakfast. The chicken was involved in making it; the pig was committed to make it. Kelly seems to be the eggs.
    Kelly isn’t a typical college football coach. He is the son of a lawyer. He is single. He grew up in New Hampshire. His first coaching job in 1990 paid him $4,000 a year to coach defensive backs and special teams at Columbia University.
    His base salary at Oregon this year is $3.5 million and it escalates to more than $4 million after that. Oregon hired Kelly, who was offensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire, to the same position with the Ducks in 2007. By 2009, he was the head coach.
    Kelly knows football. He knows offense.
    But there’s also a looming NCAA investigation. This isn’t a USC-type scandal, but it may be enough to push Kelly to make a decision he declined to do a year ago.
    Are the Browns a fit for him?
    There is no doubting Kelly has elevated Oregon football to elite status. In four seasons with the Ducks, Kelly has led the program to at least 10 wins every season and four straight BCS bowl games. Before Kelly? Oregon played in seven major bowl games and had four 10-win season in its history.
    Page 2 of 2 - The law of average is on Cleveland’s side. The Browns can’t remain a crummy team snake-bitten by poor ownership decisions forever. Eventually, guessing (C) on a multiple choice test has to result in the right answer, regardless of knowledge, yes?
    The Browns have a good young team. The next guy, one with the kind of dynamic personality that Kelly has, will be the leader which new owner Jimmy Haslam covets.
    And Kelly will be in control. He will be the alpha dog in the front office. The Browns seem to be writing the job description of general manager with so little responsibility that Mike Lombardi would be the perfect “little dog” Chester to Kelly’s “big dog” Spike mentality.
    But Kelly will cost Haslam.
    Pat Shurmur was making about $2 million with the Browns. Kelly will command upwards of $6 million a season to come to Cleveland.
    Kelly has played somewhat coy. He can pretend to believe his team hasn’t talked about him leaving. He can dodge and dive questions all he wants. Kelly either will be in the NFL in a week, or he’ll use the league as leverage to get more of Phil Knight’s Nike money. Oregon’s deep-pocket boosters won’t shed a tear when he leaves, either. Kelly doesn’t like the hob-nobbing aspect of his job.
    He wants to coach football. He wants to make a difference.
    He can in Cleveland. And, yes, he’s certainly thought about the NFL and how his option-spread offense will work on Sundays.
    “The Washington Redskins are doing a pretty good job,” Kelly said. “... The kid at Carolina (Cam Newton) has done a pretty good job. But it depends.”
    Kelly caught himself. He was revealing more than he wanted. Or he was starting to dance with the NFL on purpose.
    There is a difference between college and the NFL. In 2009, Kelly responded to a fan’s criticism of Oregon’s bowl performance and request for a refund of his travel expense. Kelly wrote the man a personal check for $439 to cover the expenses.
    Haslam has enough money to write Kelly the kind of check that would ease the pain of long-suffering Browns fans.

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