January has not been a kind month to Notre Dame football fans. Between the bizarre Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax and the 41-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, it's easy to forget that for a few days, it looked like the Irish could have lost head coach Brian Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles. However, the Eagles went with another Kelly, Chip, and Brian stayed on in South Bend.
Kelly spoke during a conference call with the media last week, and reaffirmed his commitment to coaching at Notre Dame:
"I had always been in the college game and really did not have a good grasp of the NFL setup," Kelly said. "And so, for me, my head said let's be more informed, as it relates to the NFL, but my heart is in college football and with Notre Dame."
Kelly's explanation is perfectly reasonable. Football coaches don't reach the upper echelon of their profession without being incredibly ambitious, and I have no doubt that on some level he's intrigued by the challenge of coaching at the NFL level. However, a more cynical person would think that Kelly is simply trying to mend fences and sooth some hurt feelings among the Irish faithful, who were put out on a limb when his discussions with the Eagles went public. In the end, however, it doesn't really make that much of a difference, as he is remaining in South Bend for the foreseeable future.
The only real damage caused by Kelly's discussion with the Eagles was the de-commitment of linebacker Alex Anzalone, who jumped ship on the Irish and enrolled at Florida. However, given the history of Anzalone's recruitment, it's entirely possible that he was already thinking about ditching Notre Dame, and was looking for an excuse to go. He's the only one who knows for sure, and honestly, it doesn't make that much of a difference.
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