FROM PULLMAN — Was watching the NFC championship game last night when something far more impactful began brewing — first on Twitter, then just about everywhere else. But literally as I put my fingers to the keys to write this just after midnight, it appears as if Chip Kelly may be staying at Oregon after all. That and some links after the jump.
I do plan to go to bed at some point tonight (this won't post until 6 a.m., but it's about 12:30 as if this writing), so it's possible that this Chip Kelly saga could take another turn in the next few hours. But as of now, the latest reports are that Kelly had an 11th-hour change of heart — a la Chris Dawson, but on a much grander scale — and will not be accepting the head coaching job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. … Multiple reports indicated early in the evening that Kelly was in talks with Tampa, with those reports turning into confirmations of Kelly's hire as the night wore on. And just as I sat to write this post detailing all of the implications for the rest of the Pac-12, a tweet from Adam Jude of the Eugene Register-Guard — who has been all over this story — came across my TweetDeck. And the proverbial presses came to a screeching halt. … Jude reported earlier that a source told him that Kelly to Tampa was a “done deal.” But the same source then informed Jude that Kelly decided that he's staying at Oregon, after all. Other outlets followed. All this after a source told the Register-Guard's George Schroeder that he “can't even fathom” a situation where Kelly would wind up back at Oregon. Of course, we know well enough that it's entirely possible for a coach to sign an employment agreement (Dawson) without being bound to a contract, which then makes it possible for said coach to change his mind with minimal financial implications. So it is entirely possible that a deal of some sort was agreed upon, in writing. … So, what happened? Was it as simple as Kelly deciding he didn't want to coach in the NFL after all? Or did Phil Knight give Kelly some incentive to stay in the form of financial motivation? Guess we'll find out soon enough. Or not. Or we will. Or, heck, who knows? … It sounds as if it may not have much relevance now, but John Canzano wrote a column in the Oregonian arguing that if Kelly were to leave, it wouldn't be nearly as big of a blow to the conference as some think. The columnist also provided some updated commentary to fit the story's most recent turn. … There's still the matter of recruiting, of course. There were reports on Sunday that Kelly had canceled some of his scheduled visits this week, so he may have some explaining to do once he does get into those living rooms. But I imagine Ducks fans would prefer that over trying to pull together this class with a new coach. … Here's a cool look at the scrambling the Register-Guard had to do late last night to get the correct story on their front page. … And a column from Schroeder. … A random thought: I've had conversations with other writers about how cool it'd be to look at non-published versions of early stories written about major events that took wild turns near their completion — Bill Bucker's Game 6 error in 1986, for example. There have been so many stories (or large portions of stories) written that never saw the light of day — game stories especially, for obvious reasons — because things always happen before press time that we can't predict. Well, on Sunday we actually did get to see both sides of a story published. Canzano's two columns provide what I think is a pretty cool two-sided view of Kelly's non-departure. … I know that's a lot of time to devote to happenings at Oregon on a Cougar-centric blog, but I figured a good many of you would be interested in how the process played out over the late-night hours.
Not a whole lot of WSU news — though I expect there will be later today, as Faisal Aden will almost certainly be named Pac-12 Player of the Week. … There is this story in the Texas Tech student newspaper, which summarizes a news conference held by Mike Leach's new attorney in his suit against the school. Interesting comment from another of Leach's lawyers in regards to a petition filed by Craig James: “From a legal perspective, if you read the motion that they wrote — I have three daughters so I can say this — it’s like a junior high school girl crying over a broken heart. It’s ridiculous.” … CougCenter.com takes a look at Abe Lodwick's productive weekend.
On to your Pac-12 links: There aren't many, as there were no games Sunday. The Arizona Daily Star does have this look at the road ahead for the Wildcats, who host the Cougars on Thursday in Tucson. There's also an Arizona notebook — leading with a football item — from Greg Hansen. … Here's a feature on Colorado's 6-foot-11 center Shane Harris-Tunks. … Utah is trying to build on some momentum. … Oregon and Oregon State renew their rivalry this week. … And for the life of me, I can't find a darn thing on Stanford, Cal, Arizona State, USC, UCLA or Washington (though there is news of a UW football commit).
All for now. We'll be back later today.