Chip Kelly Explains Visit With Alabama, Nick Saban

    Chip Kelly explains his visit with Alabama and Nick Saban ahead of the Crimson Tide's national championship game.

    January 21, 2016

    Chip Kelly explained why he visited with Nick Saban at Alabama before the national championship.

    Chip Kelly has officially been introduced as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers decided to move on from Jim Tomsula after just one year, and will now hand the team over to Kelly. 

    The former Oregon head coach is heading back to the West Coast after three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, during which he went 26-21.

    Although, before he was hired to replace Tomsula in San Francisco, Kelly stopped by Tuscaloosa, Ala. to see Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide ahead of their matchup with the Clemson Tigers in the national championship.

    During his introductory press conference on Tuesday, Kelly explained why he made a visit to Alabama.

    “I was home in New Hampshire and Nick asked me if I would come down just to watch football,” Kelly said. “I had nothing to do with them playing Clemson or give them any insight into playing Clemson.”

    With nothing but time on his side, Kelly jumped at the opportunity to spend time with one of the greats. 

    “You hear things about Nick Saban. The classy maneuver on Tuesday before the national championship game, to invite me down to Alabama just to spend time with them, him taking 45 minutes out his day to talk to me about his experience in the National Football League and what’s it’s like at Alabama, we all gravitate toward each other. We all love the game, have a passion for the game and want to see it played the right way.”

    While both Saban and Kelly have expressed that the trip was innocent in nature, an intriguing item of note is San Francisco’s recent contact with Lane Kiffin, Alabama’s offensive coordinator. The 49ers are reportedly interested in the possibility of hiring Kiffin in the same capacity. However, that very well could be a coincidence considering Kiffin is one of football’s hottest coordinators and his name regularly surfaces for coaching openings. 

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