KGW-TV in Portland first reported that Kelly was close to signing a deal to become Tampa Bay’s coach. The Tampa Bay Times confirmed the report, and said Kelly met with the team’s owners and GM last week. He reportedly was one of eight candidates to interview for the position. ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that negotiations are ongoing.
You might be wondering why Kelly would be leaving Oregon a week before National Signing Day and coming off a Rose Bowl win. We have a few ideas.
We’re guessing Kelly is taking a page out of the Pete Carroll playbook and bolting before the NCAA comes down on the program. Oregon was under scrutiny for its relationship with street agent Willie Lyles, whom they paid $25,000 ostensibly to land recruiting prospect Lache Seastrunk, who later transferred to Baylor.
Upcoming NCAA sanctions could be part of the reason quarterback Darron Thomas surprisingly announced his decision to turn pro.