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Chip Kelly returning to college football ... as a studio analyst for ESPN

We’ll see him in a different spot than usual next football season.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Chip Kelly won’t be on the sidelines next season, but that doesn’t mean the former head coach will be away from football entirely. He’s going to ESPN as a college football studio analyst, returning to the college game after four years in the NFL. Kelly previously made his name as the head coach of the Oregon Ducks.

Kelly has been out of the coaching game for a few months. His last stint with the San Francisco 49ers lasted all of one season, with his firing coming after a 2-14 record, which was the second-worst behind the Cleveland Browns in 2016.

Given Kelly’s presumable end in the NFL, as the 49ers job came after a 26-21 record in three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, it appeared as if Kelly could make a run back in the college ranks, with the Oregon job opening up in December, as well as various big-name offensive coordinator jobs, like the one at LSU, opening up.

Cal firing Sonny Dykes looked intriguing for Kelly, as well. He even added that he wasn’t ruling anything out, leading some to believe that meant a return to college was possible.

But those roles were all filled without Kelly being named to one of them. Oregon landed Willie Taggart, LSU hired Matt Canada as its new OC, and Cal went with Wisconsin defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox as its next head man. After the Super Bowl, Kelly was even reported as a likely candidate to replace Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta, who replaced Kelly in San Fran.

With Kelly seeing those opportunities open then close, he is now left to take a television role. Coaches are no strangers to doing so then getting back into coaching, however. Urban Meyer spent the 2012 season with ESPN before accepting the Ohio State head coaching job. And most recently, Atlanta Falcons new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian started the year with Fox Sports before being hired by Nick Saban at Alabama.

We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for Kelly. But for now, that includes a role away from the sidelines and in a studio.