The Eagles and Kelly developed a mutual interest in each other and plan to resume talks this weekend after Kelly returns from his vacation, according to ESPN.
The 51-year-old Kelly is the third college coach to be interviewed by the Eagles since they fired Andy Reid on Dec. 31. Oregon’s Chip Kelly and Penn State’s Bill O’Brien interviewed with Philly last week, but opted to stay at their respective schools.
Kelly’s name has also been mentioned to fill the Chicago Bears’ vacancy. CBSSports.com reported on Wednesday that the Bears were interested in Kelly, but ESPNChicago.com reported there was no truth to that rumor.
The news of the interview comes days after the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled over the Fighting Irish 42-14 in the BCS national championship game.
“I think from my perspective, I’ve got the best job in the country, NFL, college, high school, whatever,” Kelly said Saturday. “I just look at the place that I’m at and I’m thankful for the opportunity that I have.”
Kelly, who is 28-11 in three seasons with the Fighting Irish, was lured away from the Cincinnati Bearcats in December 2009. He led the Bearcats to an undefeated season in 2009, and has improved the record of every school where he has coached. His resume includes stops at Division II Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and Cincinnati.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick signed Kelly to a five-year deal in 2009, but gave him a two-year extension last year to keep him at the school through the 2016 season.
The Eagles are not in a rush to fill the opening right away, as they have interviewed six candidates and plan to interview four others over the next couple of weeks.
General manager Howie Roseman, owner Jeffrey Lurie and president Don Smolenski plan to interview former 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 Eagles website. “The key isn’t getting the right guy as quickly as possible, so that’s what we’re going to do.”
They have also planned to interview Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Since Kelly left has the country and is unavailable for comment, Fighting Irish fans are left to wonder what his decision will be when he returns and continues his talks with the Eagles.
“How can you not be [intrigued]?” Kelly said. “When you’ve coached football, you look at everything — you look at high school film and you watch coaches there, college, Division III to Division I, it doesn’t matter, college, NFL. All of that stuff intrigues me. I still think it comes down to time and place. What is the right time, and what is the right place? I never take any of that off the board.”