Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly suffered a horrid defeat at the hands of Alabama in the BCS National Championship, but in the long-run he may have won anyway.
After denying reports that he was looking to leaving South Bend, Kelly was linked to the Philadelphia Eagles according to ESPN.
The Chicago Bears are also interested in Kelly, according to CBS Sports. Cleveland, San Diego, and Arizona also have openings, but Kelly has not been linked to any of those clubs. The Jacksonville Jaguars could also be in the market for a coach, with their new general manager David Caldwell expected to let Mike Mularkey go after two seasons.
A day removed from the Fighting Irish’s 42-14 loss to Alabama, Kelly met with Eagles officials about their vacancy. Philadelphia fired Andy Reid, who served 14 seasons with the Eagles and was almost immediately hired by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Currently in his third year with an overall record of 28-11, Kelly took over the Irish in 2010 after stints at Cincinnati, Central Michigan, and Grand Valley State.
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Kelly guided Notre Dame to a 12-0 mark in a remarkable return to prominence for a program that had gone 16-21 in the three seasons before his arrival. That kind of turnaround has encouraged speculation that Kelly may be angling for a pay increase rather than a risky jump to the NFL, where college coaches have had mixed results.
Originally, Kelly said he was happy at Notre Dame, and called it his “dream job”, but never ruled out the possibility that he would listen to offers.
The Eagles have met with several college coaches since firing Reid, including Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien.
After he was chased by several NFL teams, Chip Kelly reportedly narrowed down his choices between Philadelphia and another year at Eugene.
The Eagles also interviewed former Chicago head coach Lovie Smith last week, but according to the Associated Press will have several other interviews before deciding on their next head coach.
Over the last two seasons Philadelphia brought in top free agents like Nnamdi Asomugha, and traded for Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie to help Reid get the Eagles back to the Super Bowl. However mental lapses, a poor offensive line that couldn’t protect Michael Vick, and injuries did in Philadelphia, which ended the season 4-12, after starting 3-1.
The Bears have also vetted many candidates, including the CFL’s Marc Trestman and Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Both coaches are a step towards aiding a Chicago offense that languished in the second half of the season. The Bears went through a rough 1-5 patch when they averaged just 14.1 points per game, and quarterback Jay Cutler threw six interceptions.
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy also met with the Bears, but according to the Denver Post, didn't "wow" the team.
Brian Kelly wasn't the only Notre Dame coach to get some attention recently. Defensive coordiantor Bob Diaco reportedly up for both the Wisconsin and Boston College vacancies, but both were eventually filled.