One recent report indicated that Dan Quinn could have interest in teaming up with Kelly on the Seattle Seahawks should the current Dallas Cowboys’ defensive coordinator land the job in the Pacific Northwest.
Interest in the 60-year-old Kelly has to be seen as somewhat of a surprise given how his tenures as the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers head coach ended last decade.
But we can now add another potential suitor to the mix.
Related: UCLA Bruins Transfer Portal Tracker
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, there is “word percolating” out of the Senior Bowl in Alabama that Kelly himself is targeting the Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive coordinator vacancy. While there is no word whether new full-time Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce is interested in Kelly, it adds another layer to the entire intrigue in Southern California.
Going from head coach at a potential top-end collegiate program that’s headed to the Big Ten to an NFL offensive coordinator would seem to be a lateral move. But there is certainly something happening behind the scenes that suggests Kelly is looking for a way out.
Chip Kelly Aiming For Exit Strategy From UCLA Bruins?
Kelly has posted a mere 35-34 record as the Bruins’ head coach since being hired ahead of the 2018 season. He was firmly on the hot seat this past season before a late-season win over the rival USC Trojans.
For many in Southern California, this marriage has run its course despite UCLA winning at least eight games in each of the past three seasons.
If Kelly firmly believes that he’ll be on the hot seat next season in Los Angeles, it might make sense for him to make the jump to the NFL.
As for the Raiders and any potential interest, it must be noted that Antonio Pierce is a defensive-minded head coach. He needs to get an experienced play-caller on the other side of the ball. Say what you want about Kelly, he’s been that dating back to his days as the Oregon Ducks’ head coach from 2009-12.
As for a return to the NFL, Kelly posted a 26-21 record as the Eagles’ head coach from 2013-15. He then oversaw a 2-14 49ers team in 2016 before Kyle Shanahan took over and built a Super Bowl squad. Why there is interest in Kelly remains to be seen.
Interestingly enough, Kelly’s departure would be an opportunity for the Bruins to start over again as they transition to the Big Ten.
The likes of former Stanford head coach David Shaw could make sense. Perhaps, UCLA even puts in a call to former USC head coach Pete Carroll after he was “fired” by the aforementioned Seahawks following the 2023 NFL season.
Anything would be on the table in that regard.