Two years ago, Roger Goodell said that he would have suspended former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, if the Colts had not taken appropriate action as an organization. The Colts had hired Tressel as a Replay Advisor, after he was terminated at Ohio State, and Tressel later received a show cause penalty of five years from the NCAA. He did not start until the seventh game, which just so happened to be one game longer than Terrelle Pryor’s suspension after he entered the supplemental draft.
“I support that decision. I think that’s a wise one. I think it was clear that if they didn’t take an appropriate action, I would have taken appropriate action,” Goodell said.
Goodell, then, publicly supported taking an action against a coach who was under NCAA fire. There are, of course, differences between Chip Kelly and that situation. What is similar, though, is that Kelly was under some fire before he made the move to the NFL, and sanctions against Oregon were coming. It was not as publicly embarrassing a case as at Ohio State, with no big Tattoos headline grabbing material.
There was also no player from Chip Kelly’s program who was just suspended by the NFL, where the NFL would look even more unfair if it permitted his coach to continue without restriction. I disagreed with the Pryor suspension at the time, not buying the NFL explanation about circumventing the supplemental draft rules. To justify it, though, Tressel had to face some public relations action himself or risk looking worse.
I would be stunned if there were any action against Kelly despite Goodell’s earlier comments about another coach facing issues and eventually a show cause penalty. Kelly has his 18 month show cause penalty from the NCAA, but don’t look for those comments to be the latest indication of consistent jurisprudence by the Commissioner. Maybe there would be if there was a large high profile public outcry. Not from me, though, because I don’t think the NFL should have been in the suspension business for these cases at the outset.