One day after his Notre Dame Fighting Irish lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS Championship game, head coach Brian Kelly interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles about their vacant head coach position. According to Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN, Kelly met with the Eagles on Tuesday and will meet with them again this weekend after Kelly returns from a vacation out of the country. The ESPN report indicated that the Eagles’ interest was mutual.
In his third year with Notre Dame, Kelly led the team to a 12-0 record, which was only minimally diminished by the 42-14 loss to Alabama. Kelly had turned around programs at Central Michigan and Cincinnati before Notre Dame hired him prior to the 2010 season.
The Eagles, who fired longtime head coach Andy Reid the day after the 2012 regular season ended, are looking for a similar turnaround. They finished the season with a 4-12 record and a disastrous overall campaign. Owner Jeff Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman have interviewed or are in the process of interviewing a host of candidates, including Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Chip Kelly might be Brian Kelly’s closest comparison, and an interesting window into the kind of coach the Eagles are looking for. Oregon’s offense has been the source of serious study by multiple NFL teams — especially the New England Patriots — and the Eagles thought they might have a beat on the man in charge of that offense before he decided to return to Oregon. Brian Kelly is known for a similarly explosive offensive system, and that became clear when he was at Cincinnati.
Before the BCS Championship game, Kelly said that the NFL was not specifically on his radar.
“They have to contact my representation and they have to follow through that,” he said. “If that did occur, all that stuff is secondary to this football game. This is the biggest game that I have ever been involved in. So my focus is 100 percent on this football game.
“It’s flattering if there is interest, which I don’t know if there is, but again, [that is] such a secondary topic for me right now.”
Now, it seems to be more than that.
Lurie recently said that the Eagles’ coaching search is about “getting the right guy. The key isn’t getting the right guy as quickly as possible.”
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