Wednesday, January 9, 2013
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles interviewed Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly for their coaching vacancy, a person familiar with the meeting told The Associated Press.
Kelly was the third college coach Philadelphia interviewed since firing Andy Reid on Dec. 31. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information, said the Eagles met with Kelly on Tuesday.
Penn State’s Bill O’Brien and Oregon’s Chip Kelly interviewed with the Eagles last week, but chose to stay at their schools.
The Eagles have interviewed six candidates and plan to meet with four others.
Kelly recently called coaching Notre Dame his “dream job,” but he wouldn’t be the first to explore his options, perhaps even to get a raise to stay put.
News of the interview comes just two days after Notre Dame lost to Alabama in the BCS national championship game, a 42-14 Tide blowout that was a sour ending to the Fighting Irish season.
Notre Dame had won its first 12 games, raising hope among its fervent fans that the program was back among the elite after years of mediocrity.
Just a year ago, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick gave Kelly a two-year contract extension to keep him with the Fighting Irish through the 2016 season. Terms have not been released.
Kelly was hired in December 2009, getting a five-year deal. He left an undefeated Cincinnati team that was ranked No. 4 at the time. Fans liked his approach and his resume, which included improved records at Division II Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati.
He has done the same thing in South Bend, begging the question of whether he is ready so soon to make a fresh move, this time to the NFL, or is perhaps trying to parlay a better contract out of Notre Dame.
It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened to the Eagles during this search.
Regardless of any candidate’s intentions, the Eagles have proceeded slowly.
General manager Howie Roseman, owner Jeffrey Lurie and president Don Smolenski plan to meet with former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith on Thursday.
“Jeffrey has been very adamant with us that the key is getting the right guy,” Roseman said in an interview on the team’s Web site. “The key isn’t getting the right guy as quickly as possible, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
They met Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday and plan to interview Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.
Two other candidates dropped out of consideration. Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter signed a contract extension to stay with the Falcons. Syracuse coach Doug Marrone replaced Chan Gailey in Buffalo.
“This whole organization is built to support a head coach and they know that — not only in actions but in words — and all they have to do is call Andy Reid,” Roseman said. “It’s been a positive experience.”
The interview with Chip Kelly last Saturday lasted for several hours, fueling speculation that he was going to take the job. But Kelly, who also was pursued by Cleveland, opted for the second straight year to pass up the NFL. He turned down Tampa Bay last year.
What do they discuss in meetings with candidates?
“Everything, every aspect of the organization, how they run meetings, how they run training camp, what they’re looking for in players, what they’re looking for in coaches,” Roseman said. “You have to have a plan and know what you are doing in every area.”
This is the third time Lurie is hiring a new coach since he bought the team from Norman Braman in 1994. He hired Ray Rhodes on Feb. 2, 1995, after a long, exhaustive search that included a flirtation with former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil. Lurie needed less time to hire Reid, giving him the job on Jan. 11, 1999.