Kelly's choice paved the NFL road for Schiano
If Chip Kelly hadn't turned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down, Greg Schiano might not be in the NFL.
The two coaches can talk about their career paths when the Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) visit the Buccaneers (0-4) on Sunday.
Two years ago, the Glazer family tried to lure Kelly away from Oregon. The three Glazer brothers and general manager Marc Dominik met Kelly on the road while he was on a recruiting trip, made a pitch and offered him the job in Tampa.
''I was impressed with the three Glazer brothers and impressed with Marc Dominik,'' Kelly recalled. ''But it was more a decision to stay at Oregon than it was to go anywhere in the NFL. I didn't want to leave the staff at Oregon at that time and I didn't want to leave the players at Oregon at that time. I didn't have NFL aspirations.''
Schiano was having similar feelings about leaving Rutgers. He took over a struggling program in central New Jersey and turned it into a Big East contender during an 11-year run with the Scarlet Knights.
Several teams expressed interest in Schiano over the years, but he wasn't ready to make the jump to the NFL.
It took Kelly saying ''No'' to the Buccaneers to convince him it was his time.
''That's kind of the reason I knew I really wanted the job,'' Schiano said in a conference call this week. ''I really loved my time at Rutgers and had plenty of opportunities to go elsewhere, and at the end I just never felt like it was right. One of the things that actually really led me to believe that this was the time was when I thought that Chip had accepted the job, I was angry. I was disappointed is a better word probably. So that kind of told me that I did want it.''
So Kelly remained at Oregon and Schiano accepted the challenge of trying to build the Buccaneers into winners. Tampa was coming off a 4-12 season under Raheem Morris and hadn't won a playoff game since capturing the Super Bowl title in 2002.
''Sometimes you don't realize you want something until you don't have it,'' Schiano said. ''Then in a few hours there was an opportunity to maybe be involved with it again and that's when I kind of said, `You know what? I really do want to do this,' and fortunately it worked out.''
The Buccaneers started 1-3 under Schiano before winning five of six. They were 6-4 and in the playoff mix until a five-game losing streak knocked them out of it. Now they're winless and in disarray.
Still, Schiano has no regrets.
''It's a great organization that I work for, great ownership, a great GM in Mark Dominik and I'm excited,'' he said. ''I think we have a good football team. We struggled to start the season but I'm optimistic going forward that we're going to play good football.''
Meanwhile, Kelly turned down the Cleveland Browns and Eagles last January before changing his mind and accepting Philadelphia's offer to replace Andy Reid. He doesn't second-guess himself.
''I don't look at decisions as tough. I don't look at decisions as difficult,'' he said. ''You get all the information necessary and you make the decision and move forward. We had an outstanding year staying at Oregon, and those memories we had there, those players that I got an opportunity to coach, that staff I was with, I love those guys and still love those guys. I think it was a good decision for me at that point in time.''
NOTES: QB Michael Vick is questionable for the Eagles on Sunday because of a hamstring injury. He was a full participant in practice Friday after being limited the previous three days. Nick Foles would start if Vick can't play vs. the Buccaneers. ... TE James Casey also is questionable because of a groin injury.
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