Chip Kelly won't rule out a return to college after being fired by the 49ers

When the 49ers fired Chip Kelly after he completed a 2-14 season in his first year in San Francisco, the immediate thought of many was that this should be the end of Kelly's NFL career and a return to college football, where he was so wildly successful with Oregon, should be his next move.

On Tuesday, Kelly spoke with Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman and was asked whether he would consider a return to the college ranks for his next job. Kelly said he would at least consider it and evaluate any job at any level.

"I evaluate all jobs individually," he said. "I wouldn't rule anything out."

Kelly went 26-21 with the Eagles before being fired and hired for a lone season in San Francisco. Throughout his four-year tenure in the NFL, there were many that clamored for Kelly to return to college football where his system and desires to be in charge of personnel seemed like a better fit. Now, after being let go by a second NFL team, the door appears open for a possible return to college.

According to Kelly, the reason he never considered a return to college football earlier is that the college jobs are always closed by the time the NFL season ends and he refuses to leave a team in the middle of a season.

"I've never said I'm only looking at one thing," Kelly told Feldman. "I will never leave my team when there are games left in the season, so I never looked at college because all those jobs are filled while NFL season is still going on."

However, there could be some opportunities now even though the normal college football coaching carousel season has come and gone. Feldman reports there are some schools that would consider firing their coach this month if they could get Kelly.

If Kelly were to listen to offers from college teams, he would almost assuredly find himself getting offers that were equal to or higher than the nation's highest paid coaches in the $6-7 million range for the coach that went 46-7 in his four years as head man at Oregon.

CBS Sports Writer

Robby Kalland covers college football and golf for CBS Sports; he also dabbles in boxing, mixed martial arts and other sports. Prior to joining CBS in 2015, Robby spent time working for the Atlanta Hawks,... Full Bio

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