Chip Kelly turns down Bucs offer

Updated: January 23, 2012, 10:23 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Oregon coach Chip Kelly said Monday that he turned down an offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because he has "unfinished business to complete" with the Ducks.

Kelly and the Bucs had been deep in the process of finishing a deal Sunday night.

The Bucs moved on from Kelly quickly, calling former Green Bay Packers and Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman back for a second interview, a league source confirmed to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The source said Sherman, who is also under consideration for Miami's offensive coordinator position, is the first candidate to be schedule for a second meeting.

The Tampa Bay Times also reported Sherman's second interview earlier Monday.

Kelly, who secretly interviewed with the Buccaneers last week, had been intrigued by the challenge of coaching at the highest level and not having to deal with parents and the NCAA oversights that are inherent to coaching in college, a source told ESPN's Joe Schad.

Kelly I enjoyed meeting with the Glazer family and general manager Mark Dominik but after numerous discussions, I concluded that I have some unfinished business to complete at the University of Oregon.

-- Chip Kelly

"I am flattered by the interest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' organization. I enjoyed meeting with the Glazer family and general manager Mark Dominik but after numerous discussions, I concluded that I have some unfinished business to complete at the University of Oregon," Kelly said in a statement released by the school.

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said Oregon granted Tampa Bay permission to talk to Kelly.

"We are pleased with Coach Kelly's decision to remain as our head coach," Mullens said. "Coach Kelly has provided great leadership and remains committed to building on our position among the elite college football programs in the country."

University spokesman Dave Williford said Kelly is on a recruiting trip and was unavailable for comment Monday.

In three seasons at Oregon, Kelly has a 34-6 record and three conference titles. Oregon beat Wisconsin in this year's Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio to cap a 12-2 season. Kelly's Ducks, however, lost to Auburn in the 2011 BCS title game.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who passed on the NFL draft to return to the Trojans next season, said he knows where Kelly is coming from in a tweet to ESPN's Schad.

"Looks like we both do '@schadjoe: Chip Kelly in statement says he has 'unfinished business' at Oregon,' " Barkley wrote.

Dominik had announced earlier Monday that Kelly had turned down the chance to jump to the NFL.

"His heart is with college football and Oregon and he's no longer being considered,'' Dominik told the Times.

While former USC coach Pete Carroll left the Trojans to coach the Seattle Seahawks in January 2010 shortly before an NCAA report of sanctions under Carroll's watch was released, the source told Schad that Kelly and Oregon were not anticipating heavy sanctions from the NCAA's inquiry into the school's relationship with scouting service owner Willie Lyles.

After firing Raheem Morris the day after the regular season ended, Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said the team would go through an exhaustive search. Most of the candidates have been older and that's apparently because the Bucs wanted to go in the opposite direction of Morris, who was the league's youngest head coach.

Among the candidates who have or will interview for the position are former NFL head coaches Brad Childress and Marty Schottenheimer, current coordinators Rob Chudzinski (Carolina Panthers), Jerry Gray (Tennessee Titans) and Mike Zimmer (Cincinnati Bengals), and Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements.

The Buccaneers also interviewed Joe Philbin, but the former Packers offensive coordinator was hired by the Miami Dolphins as their new coach late last week.

Information from ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE