Not-so-beloved ex-49ers head coach could soon return to NFL

The Niners currently don't have an offensive coordinator.

But if you think that's where we are going with this, please, think again.

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly
UCLA head coach Chip Kelly / Tom Hauck/GettyImages

Chip Kelly, a one-and-done 49ers head coach from 2016, is reportedly in the mix for another job back within NFL ranks.

San Francisco 49ers fans probably want to forget almost everything about the 2016 season.

The Niners were a laughingstock that year, still reeling from the post-Jim Harbaugh years as head coach, and they ultimately boasted the second-worst record in the NFL by going 2-14 on the season. Only the 1-15 Cleveland Browns were worse.

San Francisco's head coach for that forgettable campaign? Chip Kelly.

Kelly's path to the 49ers doesn't need much of a recollection. Highly successful at the University of Oregon at the collegiate level, which included one championship loss to Auburn, Kelly's first foray into the pro ranks as the Philadelphia Eagles' head coach started off promising enough but ultimately led to disaster. Especially after Kelly demanded more and more roster control.

Dismissed from Philly after 2015, a downtrodden Niners team ultimately brought him aboard with the hope of reinvigorating a stale and boring offense from the year before.

Well, it didn't exactly work. True, Kelly can't wholly be blamed for a lack of playmakers on offense, and most San Francisco fans would pin that on former general manager Trent Baalke's failures. But, the 49ers quickly admitted their mistake and dismissed Kelly after one hapless season in favor of their current head coach, Kyle Shanahan, who took over matters in 2017.

Seemingly out of the NFL for good, Kelly returned to the collegiate ranks as UCLA's head coach in 2018 and has held that position ever since.

Will he stay there, though?

NFL rumor mill: Chip Kelly is 'drawing interest' from multiple teams as offensive coordinator

Kelly's offenses weren't boring, and he was one of the major proponents of bringing both hurry-up systems and RPOs from the college ranks to the pros, although he certainly wasn't the first to do so.

His clashes with leadership in Philadelphia soured his reputation within NFL circles, though, and his one-and-done tenure with the Niners didn't help matters either.

That said, enough time seems to have passed in order for Kelly to be included in the NFL rumor mill, at least for teams on the hunt for an offensive coordinator.

According to a report from CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones, Kelly's name is being mentioned by "multiple NFL teams" who need an offensive coordinator:

"Multiple sources tell CBS Sports that UCLA head coach Chip Kelly has been mentioned as a possible offensive coordinator by multiple head-coaching candidates this cycle, and multiple teams have started due diligence on the former Eagles and 49ers head coach for their potential offensive coordinator vacancy."

Related story: Ranking 49ers' worst head coaches over the last 20 years

San Francisco currently doesn't have an offensive coordinator, as Shanahan calls plays, but don't think that Kelly will be returning to the Bay Area in any capacity at any point soon.

That said, it is provocative enough to see Kelly's name back in NFL discussions after two pro-level tenures that did not end well.

For him, at least, perhaps a third time would be a charm.

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