Earlier in the tenure of Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly he was speaking on the topic of Fighting Irish assistant coaches leaving for similar jobs at other programs, and he huffed “If they interview, then they better get the job,” meaning that they would not have one in South Bend to come back to.
It would be interesting to hear how Kelly felt if Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick expressed the same opinion.
Within 24 hours of guiding Notre Dame to the national championship game on Monday, Kelly was meeting with representatives of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, which is a bit surprising given the fact that 72 hours earlier, Kelly stated “From my perspective I've got the best job in the country; NFL, college, high school, whatever. I just look at the place that I'm at and am thankful for the opportunity that I have.”
So “thankful” that he chose to meet with the Eagles mere hours after the 2012 season concluded.
That's not “thankful,” that is simply dumb.
It's dumb for a number of reasons, starting with that it shows a tremendous disregard for that “opportunity” which Kelly has been given.
It's not like Swarbrick hasn't been supportive of Kelly and the coach needed to send a message to his boss. Swarbrick has been effusive in his praise of the coach that he hired three seasons ago, even during some incredibly turbulent times off of the field, as well as some mediocre times on it.
It's also dumb professionally.
After what occurred this season at Notre Dame, the only question regarding Kelly among the Notre Dame fan base is when does he get a statue erected outside of Notre Dame Stadium?
The Irish Nation worships the guy, even despite getting terribly out-coached, and his team even more so out-played, by Nick Saban and Alabama on Monday.
The only way he earns that level of adoration in Philadelphia is to win a Super Bowl – getting to a Super Bowl won't matter (ask Andy Reid). And even with that, with the next home loss, the boos from the rabid Philly crowd would start up again.
Oh, and good luck finding a productive quarterback to lead the Eagles (and no, Michael Vick and Nick Foles don't count). Ask Kansas City, Oakland, or Jacksonville how easy it is to secure a good signal-caller. Kelly isn't smart enough to have Foles consistently beat division rivals Eli Manning, Robert Griffin III or even Tony Romo for that matter.
More importantly, Kelly's flirtation with the franchise was ignorant because it now casts a negative light in his recruiting efforts forever.
For however long Kelly is at Notre Dame, there will rarely be a day go by when an opposing coach won't mention to a recruit “You know Kelly is infatuated with the NFL. Look at how quickly he was in bed with the Eagles.”
In fact, the negative impact began Thursday.
Four-star linebacker Alex Anzalone of Wyomissing Area (PA) High School reneged on his plans to enroll next week at Notre Dame, and instead will now play at Florida.
I'm not saying that this situation will kill the (up to now) tremendous recruiting efforts by the Fighting Irish coaching staff. However, in a business where signing or losing an elite player very often – almost always, in fact - comes down to the smallest of details, this matter will never be viewed as a positive for Kelly.
Kelly may be building his bank account with his handling of this situation, but he most certainly has done some serious demolition to what has been three years in the making.