Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly told reporters Thursday that defensive end Stephon Tuitt didn't intend to announce his return for 2014, a day after the defensive end told The Observer -- Notre Dame's student newspaper -- he would return for his senior season.
Kelly said Tuitt "stumbled" into The Observer's question, which was asked on the record, and that he'll make a decision in January about his NFL and Notre Dame future. The Observer's report states that the paper asked Tuitt if he'll return after his initial quote, and he said "yes."
Tuitt has been projected as a first-round draft pick for months, and despite a slow start (three sacks in six games) that projection hasn't changed if he does declare for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Tuitt was not made available to the media, outside of The Observer, this week.