When Chip Kelly's name is mentioned as a possibility for the Carolina Panthers there has been one glaring sticking point -- early reports that he would demand complete control of football operations. That rumor has been dispelled, eliminating the largest roadblock, should the Carolina Panthers part ways with Ron Rivera.
As coaching searches around the NFL got started Monday, there was a near-universal feeling that Kelly, already regarded as being somewhat of a control freak, would ask for the same control over the roster that several coaches in the NFL enjoy. According to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, this is not true:
Important for teams interested in #Oregon coach Chip Kelly: He would NOT require total control of football ops to take an NFL job, I'm told— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 2, 2013
Jerry Richardson and Ron Rivera are reported to be meeting today in Charlotte for Rivera's exit interview, and more importantly we could have news whether Rivera will remain the Panthers' head coach. Despite reports that Rivera remains 'in limbo' while the team finalizes it's search for a general manager, it's highly unlikely he leaves the stadium today without knowing his future -- whether this is made public is another thing.
If the Carolina Panthers went in a different direction, the sentiment that Kelly would be perfect in Carolina has been echoed by a number of outlets. Mobile quarterback, offensive weapons, and a former star Oregon running back (Jonathan Stewart) all breed an air of familiarity, and assuming Chip Kelly's offense works at the next level (yes, that's a big assumption) there may be no quarterback in the NFL more capable to run his scheme than Cam Newton.
Oregon plays Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl tonight. Following the game it's said that Kelly will be interviewing with the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, and Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and over the weekend. It's not too late for Carolina to join the party, but the question remains: Has Ron Rivera done enough to keep his job? It's one that can only be answered by Jerry Richardson.