- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

In the first interview he’s granted since he was dismissed as head coach of Oregon, Mark Helfrich says he reached out to former coach Chip Kelly a couple of weeks ago when he thought he could be fired.

Helfrich tells ESPN Radio that he reached out to Kelly when it started “going south” for the Ducks and the rumors heated up, in the interest of trying to save his assistants’ jobs.

“When you start thinking of your assistants and all the support staff and all those people, if he were to come back here some of those people would be ‘saved’ quote-end quote,” Helfrich said.

Helfrich was fired by Oregon on Tuesday after four seasons with the Ducks. He took the team to the first College Football Playoff championship game two seasons ago but the team faltered this past season, going 4-8 overall and 2-7 in the Pac-12.

Kelly said Wednesday that he intends to remain the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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