After finishing the season 5-11 and firing head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert (h/t Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports), the Cleveland Browns are reportedly ready to interview Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly in reference to taking the same position with their team, according to ESPN:
According to several reports, Cleveland's CEO Joe Banner is in Arizona and intends to interview Kelly, who is preparing the Ducks to play in Thursday's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The interview will take place Friday.
UPDATE: Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 6:40 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
The Cleveland Browns are not the only team interested in Chip Kelly, and both the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills will reportedly get their chance to interview the Oregon coach as well.
Mike Garafolo and Erick Smith of USA Today Sports reported the following:
He will interview with the Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills about their respective vacancies, according to a person informed of Kelly's plans to meet with the teams. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports' Mike Garafolo on condition of anonymity because neither the clubs nor Kelly's camp have spoken publicly about the scheduled interviews.
Kelly is one of the most sought-after head coaching candidates, and he will likely have his choice among the several NFL head-coaching vacancies.
---End of Update---
There were several teams rumored to want an interview with Kelly, but the Oregon coach is currently busy trying to lead the Ducks to a Fiesta Bowl win over the Kansas State Wildcats.
After that, though, it appears the much-desired leader will talk to the Browns and their officials before considering making the jump from college football to the NFL.
As we have seen from many coaches in the past—Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin and others—the ability to transfer from college to the professional ranks isn’t always easy.
What It Means
While the transition to the NFL will have its typical bumps in the road for Kelly if he decides to make the move, there is a very solid team of young stars in Cleveland.
The organization would have to make a long-term investment in the former Oregon coach—a five-year plan to turn the franchise around—but Kelly could find the prospects of taking on a task this tough as an intriguing experiment.
The Browns are essentially a blank slate, and Kelly would have free rein to install all the wild offensive schemes he could develop, which is something the college play-calling phenom would love to shock the NFL with.
While it’s almost impossible to compare the college and NFL levels, Kelly has been so dominant over his time at Oregon that many teams—including the Cleveland Browns—believe he could make it work in the NFL.
The Ducks’ offensive unit ranked second in college football, averaging 50.8 points per game in 2012, but it has been the consistency of the offenses and their ability to continue putting up those numbers despite the personnel in place that makes Kelly a serious candidate for the Browns job.
At this point, what does Cleveland have to lose?
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