UCLA Bruins Coach Chip Kelly Drawing Huge Interest From The NFL, Could Leave The Program

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The UCLA Bruins decided to retain head coach Chip Kelly coming off a five-loss season, providing him with an opportunity to prove himself in 2024. Instead of seeking redemption, Kelly reportedly could leave for a fresh start in the NFL.

Kelly, 60, previously served two stints as a head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-’15) and San Francisco 49ers (2016). After being fired by San Francisco after one season, the three-time Pac-12 champion took a year off from coaching in 2017 before UCLA hired him as their next head coach.

Related: UCLA Bruins coaching candidates to replace Chip Kelly

  • Chip Kelly coaching record: 35-34 with UCLA Bruins

Once among the best college football coaches, Kelly got off to a rocky start with the Bruins. UCLA went a combined 7-17 in the first two seasons. After going 3-4 in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, the Bruins’ football program has responded by winning eight-plus games in three consecutive years.

However, Kelly has still been on the coaching hot seat. This past season after a 6-2 start, which put UCLA at No. 20 in the college football rankings, the Bruins lost three of their final four games in the regular season. Largely due to financial issues within the athletic department, Kelly was retained.

Now, according to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, multiple head-coaching candidates involved in the NFL coaching carousel have specifically mentioned Kelly as a viable option to become their offensive coordinator if hired.

Related: Top 5 things UCLA Bruins must address in 2024

Kelly is still well-regarded for his offensive mind and his experience as an NFL head coach would make him an even better option for a first-year coach with a defensive background. With many pro offenses borrowing more concepts from the college game, the Bruins’ coach would also provide that for an NFL team.

As for UCLA, any team that hired Kelly would have to pay his buyout. It would mean an influx of cash for the Bruins’ athletic department, allowing them to get out of his contract early. While it still remains unlikely that an NFL team hires Kelly as an offensive coordinator, the level of interest means it’s at least possible.