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Source: Bills to interview Oregon coach Kelly on Friday

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Associated Press
1/3/2013 12:31:49 AM
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Oregon coach Chip Kelly won't have much time to rest after the Fiesta Bowl.

On Friday, Kelly has an interview scheduled with the Buffalo Bills for their coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the coach's plans confirmed late Wednesday night.

The interview will take place in Arizona, a day after the fifth-ranked Ducks play Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills and Kelly haven't revealed the meeting will take place.

USA Today first reported that Kelly was scheduled to interview with Buffalo.

Bills newly promoted president Russ Brandon and front-office brain trust have been in Arizona since Tuesday conducting their coaching search. According to the Bills' website, the team interviewed Cardinals defensive co-ordinator Ray Horton on Wednesday, a day after meeting with former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired Monday.

In four years at Oregon, Kelly has a 45-7 record, and is known for his up-tempo offence that has transformed the Ducks into a national power. He is regarded as one of college football's prime candidates for an NFL coaching job this off-season.

Kelly also has been linked as a candidate for the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.

According to several reports, Browns CEO Joe Banner is already in Arizona and also intends to interview Kelly.

Kelly has been deflecting questions about his future all week. He did so again Wednesday when he was asked if he expects to be contacted by NFL teams in the days ahead.

"I don't expect anything," Kelly said. "I said this a million times. I'm never surprised by anything. I do not know what the future holds. I do know we have a football game tomorrow night and I'm going to be there."

The Bills are in the midst of their fifth coaching search since 2001 after Chan Gailey was fired Monday following three consecutive losing seasons.

Though it's unclear how many more candidates they have lined up, the Bills aren't done conducting their search out west after meeting with Kelly.

A second person familiar with Mike McCoy's schedule said the Broncos' offensive co-ordinator is set to interview with the Bills in Denver this weekend. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills have not revealed their list of candidates.

As the AFC's top seed, the Broncos have this weekend off before opening the playoffs the following week. They've allotted time for teams interested in McCoy to interview him in Denver this weekend.

Horton has already interviewed twice with the Cardinals, and once with the Browns, before revealing to reporters at the Cardinals' facility that he was set to meet with the Bills.

"I'm excited about the opportunity here, and the fantastic interview I had with Cleveland last night, and am going to try to knock Buffalo's socks off," Horton said.

Horton and Whisenhunt not only coached with the Cardinals, but they also previously coached in Pittsburgh.

That makes them both quite familiar with Bills assistant general manager Doug Whaley, who is a member of the team's search committee. Whaley, who is being groomed as GM Buddy Nix's successor, spent nine seasons working as a Steelers scout before joining the Bills three years ago. He is a Pittsburgh native, as well, and played his college ball at Pitt.

Whaley, on Tuesday, spoke highly of both Whisenhunt and Horton.

"We go way back. We've won some Super Bowls together, so I have high regard for their coaching acumen," he said. "I don't think it will make a decision on if they're going to be our coach, but I can shed some insight on how they performed when I was with them and as persons."

Chip Kelly (Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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