Kelly: 'I'm committed to Notre Dame'

Kelly: 'I'm committed to Notre Dame'
January 29, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Nearly three weeks after rumors began to fly about Brian Kelly meeting with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, the Notre Dame coach characterized those discussions as a lot less serious than initially thought to be.

Kelly, speaking on a teleconference with reporters Wednesday morning, said the Eagles contacted Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick soon after firing Andy Reid. Swarbrick and Kelly agreed to not address the matter until after Jan. 7's BCS Championship game.

From there, the discussions Kelly had with the Eagles were "more about intrigue on my part" as opposed to actual interest, the coach said.

"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 added he was flattered and appreciative of the Eagles' interest in him, but relayed what he's been telling recruits for the last three weeks:

"I tell the up front that I'm committed to Notre Dame," Kelly said. " … But it's not what I want to do. I want to be a college football coach."

While Kelly has since affirmed his commitment to the college ranks, players were left in the dark regarding his intentions as various reports had Kelly seriously considering the NFL. Blue-chip linebacker Alex Anzalone decommitted from Notre Dame and bolted to Florida following the report, and members of the team were left in limbo for a few days, awaiting Kelly's next move like everyone else.

But despite not knowing anything during the process, Kelly said no players expressed concern to him about his future. Kelly met with his team Sunday night to address the Eagles matter.

"From their perspective, they just wanted to know that I'm going to be their coach, that I'm going to be their coach for some time," Kelly said.

Personnel notes

A few quick hits on various players with various statuses for spring practice and the 2013 season, via Kelly's teleconference:

-- Notre Dame is still working on the appeal process with safety Jamoris Slaughter, who was recently denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Slaughter, who tore his Achilles' tendon Sept. 15 against Michigan State, is still enrolled at Notre Dame and working through injury rehab. Kelly said he hopes to hear an answer from the NCAA by the end of recruiting -- signing day is Feb. 6 -- but isn't optimistic about getting an answer by then.

-- Cornerback Bennett Jackson and linebacker Dan Fox are expected to miss spring practice, as each underwent shoulder surgery a few weeks after the BCS Championship.

-- Cornerback Lo Wood, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon last August in preseason camp, has been getting nothing but positive news regarding his recovery, Kelly said.

-- Safety Austin Collinsworth is expected to get a green light for spring practice after missing the entire 2012 season following June shoulder surgery and back surgery sometime during last season.

-- Center Matt Hegarty, who, according to various outlets suffered a stroke in November and underwent heart surgery in December, has adapted well to his medication and may be cleared soon, Kelly said.

-- The outlook isn't as positive regarding reserve tackle Tate Nichols, whose future Kelly described as "uncertain." The junior may wind up on medical hardship.