Chip Denies USC Interest
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Maybe Chip Kelly really had no interest in the Southern California coaching job or maybe Matt Barkley torpedoed him.
Whatever you believe the embattled Eagles head coach was back at One NovaCare Way on Monday and denied dual reports linking him to the now-filled USC gig.
“I’ve never spoken to anybody from USC, I’ve never emailed anybody from USC, never got a phone call from anybody from USC, never had any contact,” Kelly claimed before adding that the same held true for his agent. “I’m not involved in any college jobs."
That directly contradicts reports from the the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, who claimed USC “touched base” with Kelly before giving interim coach Clay Helton the big chair, along with Footballscoop.com, which claimed representatives from the school met with Kelly in Philadelphia last week.
"I wasn't in Philly on Friday, so that's wrong," said Kelly. "I haven't met with them, I haven't talked to them, I haven't had a conversation with anybody from USC."
(Listen to John McMullen discuss Chip Kelly rumors on the Sports Bash)
The problem with Kelly is that reporters in Los Angeles have claimed Pat Haden, USC's athletic director and the ex-Rams quarterback, did perform his due diligence on Kelly, although he admitted Monday that Kelly was not one of the 17 candidates he interviewed.
Citing a source in USC's athletic department, Max Meyer of NFL Media claimed Haden reached out to a few former Trojans players who played for Kelly in Philadelphia.
That's a short list especially if the past tense is correct because it takes Mark Sanchez and Nelson Agholor out of the equation leaving Barkley and perhaps Kevin Graf with most pointing toward Barkley, the now Arizona backup who did not enjoy playing in this offense.
Kelly, however, is sticking by his guns and claiming his commitment to the Eagles hasn't wavered despite his troubles this season.
"The same thing happened a year ago with Florida," Kelly claimed. "I have great respect for all those schools. I think USC just hired a coach who is a heck of coach -- Clay is going to do a great job there -- but I haven't been involved in any jobs, I haven't discussed anything with any colleges."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen