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Kliff Kingsbury may walk away from USC

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 1/5/2019 Mike Florio
a man wearing a helmet © Getty Images

Lynn Swann has placed Kliff Kingsbury in check. Kingsbury may soon put Swann in checkmate.

With Swann, the Athletic Director at USC, blocking Kingsbury from interviewing for head-coaching vacancies with the Jets and Cardinals, Kingsbury may simply resign his position as Trojans offensive coordinator and move on.

Per multiple sources, Kingsbury’s contract has a very low buyout. But the buyout never came up because the NFL teams, honoring the strong mandate issued at last month’s ownership meeting, contacted Swann and requested permission to interview Kingsbury. Swann said no, and that was the end of it.

But that may not be the end of it. Kingsbury, the former Texas Tech head coach, may simply pay the buyout, walk away, and see what happens with any NFL head-coaching or offensive coordinator opportunities.

Kingsbury will undoubtedly find work at least as an offensive coordinator, given the demand for quality offensive minds (which will become more pronounced as NFL head-coaching jobs are filled with offensive coaches) and the extent to which NFL teams are embracing college offensive concepts.

However it plays out, many are surprised by Swann’s decision. He’s believed to be the first college A.D. to ever block a coach from interviewing for an NFL head-coaching job, and he may end up having plenty of explaining to do to media, boosters, and fans if he loses Kingsbury. Indeed, it’s possible that the Jets and Cardinals may have hired someone other than Kingsbury, which would have resulted in Kingsbury staying at USC.

Now, Kingsbury may be gone not long after he arrived.

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