MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Two national championship title game coaches, two BCS media day podiums and, inveitably, two men deflecting NFL questions.
But it turned out Alabama's Nick Saban and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly addressed the pros much differently. Saban tried to diffuse the chatter for what feels like the 1,267th time in his career, saying he has no unfinished business in the NFL and coaching in the league is "not something I want to do."
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When asked about the NFL for the first time on Saturday, Kelly said NFL teams would have to contact his agent to show interest but that he's got the best job in the country and is solely focused on the game.
I was able to circle back with Kelly about the intrigue of the NFL, which, according to colleague Bruce Feldman, has Kelly on its radar.
"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."
Kelly's a smart guy. He knows NFL teams might call after the game, win or lose, right?
"My agent would get a call, he'd run it by me, and we'd go from there," he said. "But, again, time and place."
Is the right time and place next week, after the game?
"Time and place," said a smiling Kelly as he walked off.
Kelly has a sweet job, the Irish have a chance to be really good next season and the coach's popularity is growing in South Bend after three years. But he has nothing to lose by at least having fun with the NFL thing. And it sounds like he's being honest about the situation, playing the fairway between overstating allegiance to Notre Dame and overselling the NFL.
He has been a college lifer. But his personality would translate well to the NFL, and I think he knows it. Doesn't mean he acts on it now.
After the season that the Irish had, Kelly will get more money next year regardless. So I'm not sure he needs to angle publicly for something like that. He's just being honest -- the NFL intrigues him.