January 7th, 2013 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: Sports, Business

How Did Phil Knight Keep Chip Kelly in Oregon?

The head Duck's contract isn't chicken feed.

lede_chipkelly_3907Departing Duck Chip Kelly - IMAGE: Mitchell Lea

 After Chip Kelly done run off to the big city for the weekend—and then, very unexpectedly, returned home last night to Phil Knight's farm—speculation has run rampant in the sports biosphere about why the Oregon Ducks coach would spurn the National Football League's glamour and cash.

We're as puzzled as anybody. But it's worth remembering that Kelly is hardly coming back to a cardboard box and some soda crackers.

John Locanthi's WW cover story last month on Kelly examined the perks that come with the coach's $3.5 million annual salary: two cars, an Autzen Stadium skybox suite for his guests, and a bonus of at least $200,000 for that elusive unbeaten season.

Read the story for the full list of swag.

WW also reported that Kelly has a frosty relationship with many University of Oregon boosters. What's fascinating about this weekend's reversal is that reports say one booster helped change Kelly's mind.

Yep, it's Knight. NFL reporters say the Nike founder and #1 Duck fan made a "push" to keep Kelly here.

If those reports are true, they amount to a spectacular coup for Knight: He has, in a single month, managed to make the nation's most coveted football coach and the Oregon Legislature dance to his tune.

 
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