Now that the college football coaching carousel has stopped spinning, the sexiest football coaching rumors on the web are those that connect either Oregon coach Chip Kelly or ESPN Monday Night Football Analyst Jon Gruden to potential NFL head coaching vacancies. Here’s what Kelly had to say when he joined Sirius XM College Sports Nation and was asked about his interest in coaching the Carolina Panthers should the team decide to part ways with Ron Rivera (via CoachingSearch.com):
“One of the things that bothers me with this profession, this speculation doesn’t go on with anyone else’s profession,” he said. “If you work for Liberty Mutual or something, I don’t think people sit around the watercooler saying who is getting this job and that job. It kind of becomes a national phenomenon. Everybody has a job right now.
“The Carolina Panthers have, in my opinion, an outstanding coach. I just think it’s kind of the sad part of our profession, that people talk about people getting jobs that aren’t even open. I’ve always just steered clear of that stuff. I’ve always approached it that the job I have is the job I love and coach my tail off here and get ready to play in the Fiesta Bowl.”
Kelly’s comments don’t surprise me. The coaching profession is like a fraternity. Coaches know not to talk about their interest in a job with another team until that job is actually available. However, the Carolina Panthers might have the most “Kelly Ready” offense in the league since the team already runs plenty of read option plays for Cam Newton (the quarterback who beat Kelly’s Ducks in the 2011 BCS Title Game). If Kelly is able to discretely express his interest in coaching the Panthers, Carolina owner Jerry Richardson may be a lot more willing to let go of Rivera after these last two games.