SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly will be back with the Fighting Irish next season after leading them to the national title game this past season.
Kelly, who interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles last week, says his interest with the NFL is over for now.
“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,” Kelly said in a statement.
“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.”
The remarks were the first comments by Kelly since news broke late Wednesday that he had interviewed with the Eagles one day after the Irish were beaten 42-14 by Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
The Eagles, who also interviewed Oregon’s Chip Kelly, said in a statement that they had spent a lot of time and effort looking at the best collegiate candidates for their vacancy.
“We did so knowing that there was a remote chance that these coaches would leave their current posts. We understood that going into the process, but we wanted to leave no stone unturned while trying to find the best head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles,” the statement said.
“We have no regrets about the effort we made in that direction and we will continue to proceed as planned in our search.”
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement that he was “always confident that Brian would continue to lead our football program.”
CSNPhilly.com, ESPN.com and the NFL Network reported that the Eagles interviewed Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Saturday. The meeting took place in Atlanta, where the Seahawks play the Falcons today in an NFC divisional round playoff game.
The Eagles are scheduled to talk with Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden on Monday and are expected to meet with Indianapolis offensive coordinator Bruce Arians later this week.
Bradley, 46, is considered one of the hottest candidates to land an NFL head-coaching job for next season.
His Seahawks defense allowed a league-best 15.3 points per game during the regular season, and then gave up 14 in a wild-card playoff win at Washington last Sunday.
The Eagles, who fired Andy Reid on New Year’s Eve, are among five teams looking for a coach, along with Arizona, Chicago, Jacksonville and San Diego. Buffalo (Doug Marrone), Cleveland (Rob Chudzinski) and Kansas City (Reid) have hired coaches.
Bradley and Gruden have interviewed with Arizona. Arians, who was hospitalized last week with an inner ear infection, is believed to be interested in San Diego’s opening.
Bradley was the eighth person the Eagles have interviewed in their quest to replace Reid.
(Press staff writer David Weinberg contributed to this report.)