Chip Kelly got his shot at NFL redemption Thursday when the San Francisco 49ers announced he had been selected as the new head coach. The controversial Kelly had been released from his contract by the Philadelphia Eagles just before the final game of the 2015 season. According to CBS Sports, Kelly had two years left on his contract, but Chip’s record of 26 wins and 21 losses, combined with his controversial coaching style, seemed to wear out his welcome with the organization.
While many speculated that the Kelly could wind up at the helm of the Tennessee Titans, reuniting Chip with former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, it was the 49ers that locked Kelly into place. The 49ers just came off a rough season finishing last in the NFC West with a record of five wins and eleven losses and it seems they are hoping the Chip Kelly of old will rise up from his own losing season to take the 49ers in a positive direction.
The announcement of Chip Kelly’s hiring was met with mixed emotions from commentators and 49ers fans alike. While many were quick to point out Kelly’s initial success with the Eagles in his first two seasons, there was concern that Chip’s more recent choices while in power are what put the Eagles in the losing predicament in the first place.
Chip Kelly is a good hire for the 49ers. All of their good players retired last year, so he can’t trade them away.
— Adam Carriker (@AdamCarriker94) January 15, 2016
As previously reported by The Inquisitr in March, Kelly came under fire for what some considered to be odd coaching decisions in trading some of Philadelphia’s most talented players. Besides swapping quarterback Nick Foles for an often injured and inconsistent Sam Bradford, Kelly rid himself of some of his greatest offensive weapons including LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and DeSean Jackson. This combined with the lack of play time for the newly acquired and very expensive Demarco Murray led several commentators to accuse Kelly of racism, a claim Chip denied.
Now as Chip Kelly prepares to take over in San Francisco, many 49ers have to be wondering what changes may be coming to their own roster. Colin Kaepernick seemed to be on the chopping block prior to the acquisition of Kelly after going from hero to goat in a matter of two seasons. While many believed Kaepernick would be traded if not fired on the off season, some analysts believe that with Chip Kelly at the helm, Kaepernick may find himself sporting scarlet and gold for the 49ers again.
ESPN analyst Kevin Seifert noted that Kelly’s offense is right in line with Kaepernick’s style that led the 49ers to victory in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. And Bleacher Report took their Kelly/Kaepernick investigation a little further, discovering that since the hiring of Chip Kelly, Colin Kaepernick jerseys were no longer on clearance in the San Francisco online team store. One Twitter user, however, may have had the most interesting take on the situation utilizing those old “Chip Kelly is a racist” sentiments to determine Kaepernick’s fate:
— Cyrus McQueen (@CyrusMMcQueen) January 14, 2016
In truth, Kaepernick’s stay in San Francisco may not ultimately be up to Chip Kelly. For the 2015 season, Kelly was not only the head coach of the Eagles but the head of football operations, a title that would give Chip power similar to that of a general manager. The 49ers, however, have only given Kelly the position of head coach meaning Chips’s final authority over the roster may be limited.
What do you think? Will Chip Kelly be the positive change the 49ers need for the 2016 season?
[Chip Kelly cover image via Jim Rogash/Getty Images.]