Notre Dame's Brian Kelly May Be Off To NFL

By douggriffiths
Brian Kelly Notre Dame
Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

A source with very close ties to Notre Dame tells me Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly may indeed leave the program after just three seasons if he’s offered an NFL head coaching position.

Kelly reportedly interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles today and is said to be out of the country currently.

Not only is Kelly interested in the Eagles’ vacancy, but the source tells me he’s very intrigued by the opening with the Chicago Bears too.

In short order, Kelly has made Notre Dame relevant again in college football’s national landscape. Under his guidance, the Fighting Irish improved from 8-5 marks his first two seasons, to a stellar 12-1 record in 2012, including an appearance in the BCS National Championship game where they were crushed by defending national champion Alabama.

Perhaps Kelly is using the NFL’s interest in his services as a way to coax more money out of Notre Dame. After all, this is a practice that seems more commonplace than ever nowadays.

Chip Kelly was thought to definitely be bolting from Oregon for the Cleveland Browns or another NFL destination only to supposedly have a change of heart and opt that the college game was just fine for him … at least for the meantime.

Penn State’s Bill O’Brien interviewed with the Browns this off-season, but ended up staying in Happy Valley after getting a reported salary boost of $1.3 million.

Of course there are college coaches who can’t say no to the NFL. Just ask Syracuse. It lost Doug Marrone to the nearby Buffalo Bills.

If it is a money ploy by Kelly, it may just work. He ranks among the top-25 highest paid college football coaches in America, but his $2.6 million salary is less than half of what Nick Saban’s rakes in. Even Texas’ Mack Brown makes more than double what Kelly makes with his inflated $5.4 million salary.

It’s hard to believe that Kelly would seriously entertain offers to leave his dream job, but he already is doing just that.

Remember this is the guy that less than a week ago told media members that heading to the NFL wasn’t an option.

Not that I expected Kelly to say anything different than that when asked about possibly flirting with the NFL, but there’s no doubt he’s interested in the pro ranks. In fact, he’s more than interested and his days under the Golden Dome just may be coming to an end.

Stay tuned.

Doug Griffiths is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths.

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