|Kelly says he never left the Ducks' side. (Getty Images)|
Chip Kelly's brief flirtation with the Buccaneers job was just that: brief. Reports emerged on Sunday night that Kelly would take the Tampa Bay gig. But while most of the world was sleeping, the situation was flopped and Kelly bailed.
Unless he didn't; Kelly went on KUJZ in Oregon and said that he never accepted the Bucs gig and that he never "flip-flopped."
"The only decision I ever made was to not accept the job," Kelly said, via Rob Moseley of the Oregon Register-Guard. "I never changed my mind; I never committed to the job and then flip-flopped.
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"It was nothing more than, I'd like to hear what they had to say."
Well, the Bucs are unlikely to comment on the situation, especially since they "found their man" in Rutgers Greg Schiano. So it's unlikely that Kelly can be proven incorrect. And he did admit that he talked with Tampa Bay, and that he came upon their interest via Oregon's Athletic Director Rob Mullens, who was approached by the Bucs.
"They presented to me what their plan was for Tampa Bay, and it was extremely attractive," Kelly said. "But at the end of the day ... I got into coaching because of the relationships. And the relationships I have with the current coaches on our staff and the players was the underlying reason why I came back."
Kelly also pointed out that the Buccaneers offered him a raise. What he didn't point out is that he absolutely has to say that he never took this job. If he were to say that he took the gig, it'd be an utter disaster for recruiting. His current players would wonder how close he was to leaving, and other coaches would be able to play the possibility about Kelly leaving against him. And they would.
There are ample reports of Kelly taking the job and then bailing that emerged from this whole erstwhile debacle. But neither the Bucs or Kelly have any motivation to confirm them, so it's unlikely that you'll hear any story too different from what Kelly offered on Thursday.
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