Brian Kelly is sticking around at Notre Dame after all.
A week of rampant speculation about the future of the Irish head coaching position came to an uneventful conclusion Saturday afternoon when the school officially announced that Kelly would remain in South Bend.
"This week, I had an incredible opportunity to speak with one of the premier organizations in sports about becoming their head coach,” Kelly said in a prepared statement. “Like every kid who has ever put on a pair of football cleats, I have had thoughts about being a part of the NFL. However, after much reflection and conversation with those closest to me, I have decided to remain at Notre Dame."
“This decision was motivated purely by my love for Notre Dame and the entire Fighting Irish community, the young men I have the great fortune to coach, and my desire to continue to build the best football program in the country. We still have a lot of work to do and my staff and I are excited about the challenges ahead.”
Kelly met with the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday and the two sides parted with a mutual interest, according to several reports. Kelly then fell off the grid for several days while on vacation. Notre Dame's athletic office decided not to release a statement acknowledging growing rumors of Kelly's exit before Saturday's announcement.
A week ago, the Irish coach told reporter at the BCS National Championship Media Day that he had "the best job in the world," but he couldn't rule out moving on to the NFL in the proper time and place presented itself.
Irish athletic director Jack Swarbrick said he never doubted Kelly's intention to remain at Notre Dame following a disappointing 42-14 loss to Alabama in the national title game Monday night.
“I appreciate the Eagles reaching out to request permission to speak with Brian, and I also appreciate Brian keeping me fully informed throughout this process," Swarbrick said in the statement. "We all look forward to what’s ahead for Notre Dame football."
It remains to be seen whether Kelly's flirtation with the NFL will lead to a larger contract with the Irish or increased resources for his fellow coaches and the program overall.
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