It remains unclear whether Brian Kelly will leave Notre Dame after just three seasons for a job at the professional level. One way or another, though, his future should be resolved over the next 48 hours or so.
Wednesday, it was reported that Kelly had met with the Philadelphia Eagles about their coaching vacancy at some point after Notre Dame’s BCS title game loss to Alabama Monday. The initial conversation went well enough that another meeting was scheduled for this weekend when Kelly returned from a vacation out of the country.
Many thought the leak was merely a ploy on the part of Kelly and/or his agent to wring every last dollar out of Notre Dame as he/they could. The fact that Kelly continues to speak to NFL personnel about the rigors of the job in that league, as the Chicago Tribune reports, suggests this is more than just flirtation aimed at some type of financial enhancement.
Indeed, athletic director Jack Swarbrick heavily intimated before the Irish’s soul-crushing loss to the Tide that money would be no object in keeping Kelly in South Bend, which would seem to mitigate the financial angle somewhat.
“I’m really confident that Brian enjoys his experience at Notre Dame and when we’re past (Monday), we’ll sit down and talk about securing that future,” Swarbrick said Sunday. “We love having him, and he loves being at Notre Dame.”
When asked if a raise would be a part of those talks, Swarbrick said, “Everything that goes into the program is on the table when we have those discussions.”
Kelly currently makes in the neighborhood of $3 million a year, and received a two-year contract extension last January, triggered by a clause in his original deal, last January that technically would keep him with the Irish through the 2016 season.
That’s provided, of course, he makes it that long. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Kelly is one of the frontrunners for the Eagles job, along with Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Kelly returns to the United States today and, barring an unexpected turn, will meet with the Eagles a second time.
Per the Tribune, a team meeting of some sort is tentatively scheduled for Monday, which suggests a conclusion one way or the other is in the offing by the close of business Sunday.
Well, a conclusion for this year at least. “A source close to Kelly believes he will end up in the NFL someday,” the South Bend Tribune wrote Friday night. That sentiment is shared by many, with more than a handful of individuals looking at Kelly and the NFL as a when, not if proposition.
“All of that stuff intrigues me. … I never take any of that off the board,” Kelly said prior to the title game in regards to future NFL interest. Again , when not if.
UPDATED 1:44 p.m. ET: For accounting purposes, Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune tweets that “Kelly never left US soil this week. Miami, Nashville, vacation here with wife, now Connecticut.” So, there’s that.