As soon as Black Monday came and passed in the NFL two weeks ago we wrote that Brian Kelly and the NFL speculation was inevitable. Well, the inevitable appears to have come to reality on Wednesday with reports from multiple media outlets that Brian Kelly met with the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, a day after the BCS Championship.
Can confirm what @JayGlazer tweeted about earlier … And that the Eagles actually interviewed ND coach Brian Kelly on Tuesday.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 10, 2013
To repeat, Eagles and Kelly met after the BCS title game before he left for vacation out of country. @JayGlazer also reporting interest.
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 10, 2013
Before everyone freaks out, the Eagles have already met with two other college head coaches who have said thanks, but no thanks – Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and this could very well be Brian Kelly drumming up interest to help get a new contract with Notre Dame on the heels of the best Irish season in 20 years.
A report like this can also be used positively for Notre Dame and Kelly in recruiting should Kelly follow Chip Kelly and Bill O’Brien’s lead and politely turn down the Eagles. A little of the luster from Notre Dame’s season wore off on Monday night in Miami with the resounding loss to Alabama. Having NFL teams interested in your head coach though can be used in your favor.
What will be very important here is how long it takes for Kelly to be reached for comment. Kelly is currently out of the country on vacation, but that shouldn’t necessarily prevent him from issuing a statement that he is not interested and will remain the head coach of the Fighting Irish if those are indeed his intentions.
Had Notre Dame won on Monday night I would be much more concerned about this, but if you listened to what Kelly had to say when the NFL questions came up at media day, he kept saying that every opportunity had to be evaluated based on “the time and place.” Would leaving for the NFL on the heels of a resounding loss in the BCS Championship game be the right time and place?
In fact, NBC’s Keith Arnold is already reporting that according to one NFL source, this is standard negotiating practice.
Spoke with one NFL source that thinks this is a standard negotiating tactic. Heard that ND and Kelly's agent were already talking new deal.
— Keith Arnold (@KeithArnoldNBC) January 10, 2013
And ditto for SI’s Pete Thamel
A Notre Dame source tells me that the expected result of Kelly's NFL flirtation is a raise and an extension.
— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) January 10, 2013
And now Rueben Frank, one of the best beat writers covering the Eagles in the Philadelphia area.
I'll be absolutely shocked if Brian Kelly doesn't return to Notre Dame.
— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) January 10, 2013
And to add some more context here. As reported by Rob Maaddi, Kelly reportedly met with the Eagles on Tuesday and then later that day announced that they were brining in Lovie Smith for an interview on Thursday (side note as an Eagles fan I was already pulling for Lovie, but even moreso now). Now, if there is legit mutual interest here the Eagles could be using this as leverage of their own, but it could also mean they let their meeting not feeling all that optimistic towards Kelly’s interest.
Hopefully this all does in fact end with a big contract extension for Kelly at Notre Dame, but the longer it lingers the worse it will be for Notre Dame. Stories like this can be used as a positive if the coach stays, but if this drags out and there is legit interest from Kelly, opposing coaches are going to have a field day with this on the recruiting trail.
Obviously, more to follow as this one develops.