Talk about a good way to forget about a 28-point loss in the National Championship game.
Fresh off Notre Dame’s 42-14 loss to Alabama, multiple reports swirled Wednesday night that Brian Kelly discussed the Eagles head coaching vacancy with Philadelphia brass on Tuesday.
ESPN reporters Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter reported that Kelly interviewed with the Eagles on Tuesday, while Philly.com and Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported similar tidbits. The news follows rumors from before the BCS title game that suggested multiple teams had Kelly on their shortlist of candidates.
While there’s been no word out of Notre Dame officially, Kelly is said to be spending a few days on vacation with his family before returning to South Bend before the recruiting dead period ends.
Dozens of reporters have spent the past few hours pursing through Kelly’s comments about the NFL in the days leading up to the title game. Kelly didn’t dismiss anything, but merely said he’s completely focused on the job at hand. But with the Irish now finished with the season and a 12-1 season putting Notre Dame back on the map, the timing is perfect for Kelly to leap to a high paying NFL gig or secure a handsome extension from Notre Dame and athletic director Jack Swarbrick.
Talking to a few people in and around the program, there was a feeling that those contract discussions had already begun, with an announced extension sooner than later. That’s what makes the timing of these NFL reports a bit worrisome for Irish fans. If there ever was a reminder that Kelly had climbed from his last two jobs after three seasons, this was certainly it.
That said, it bears mentioning that the last time a Notre Dame coach saw even a sniff of NFL interest, he received a ten-year contract extension that’ll continue to be paid out for the next half-decade. And with Kelly gone from his perch at Notre Dame and unreachable for the next few days, never was there a better time for the popular coach’s representative to float a rumor to NFL reporters, adding some urgency to Swarbrick’s timetable. One senior level NFL executive told me that’s exactly what he thinks is currently happening.
An extension could also come in handy if Kelly was hoping to get his assistants paid. With Bob Diaco and Chuck Martin’s names floating across a few team’s wish lists, contract extensions and pay bumps could help keep Kelly’s staff intact after replacing three coaches last season.
With Signing Day less than a month away, Kelly’s situation will likely be resolved by January 12, when a recruiting dead period ends. From there, it’ll be a sprint to the finish line for the Irish staff, who will go to work locking down a class that’s already ranked No. 1 by Rivals.
Still, seeing Kelly’s name linked to an NFL franchise, and seeing the head coach reportedly listen to the team, is an eye-opening experience for Notre Dame fans, a group that had some clamoring to get rid of Kelly after ten losses in his first two seasons.
In a season that was filled with several twists and turns nobody saw coming, it turns out that even after the final whistle blows, the ride continues.