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Irish fans, recruits left wondering about Kelly

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Irish fans, recruits left wondering about Kelly

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III captured the emotion of just about everyone who follows the Fighting Irish with a simple tweet: ``Didnt see that coming!''

News that coach Brian Kelly had interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles one day after the Irish were thoroughly beaten 42-14 by Alabama in the BCS title game caught just about everyone by surprise.

The job, after all, has not traditionally been a springboard to the NFL and is viewed by many - at least Notre Dame fans - as a destination job for a deep-pocketed program with one of the most storied histories in college football. And why would anyone leave after coming so close to the national championship?

Nix, who already announced he was skipping the NFL draft and returning to Notre Dame next season, told his followers he wasn't concerned about Kelly's interview.

``Im not worried and you shouldnt be either,'' he tweeted.

The early reaction from Notre Dame recruits indicated they are still committed to the Irish.

``If Kelly leaves!!!!!,,,,, I'm still a domer S/O to my ND fans,'' linebacker Jaylon Smith tweeted.

Cornerback Devin Butler expressed similar feelings, tweeting: ``I committed to a program and school.. Not a coach.'' He then added: ``But I doubt he leaves.''

Still, the interview alone could prove costly. Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS Sports says Notre Dame was on track to possibly have the top recruiting class this year, but said some recruits will get antsy if Kelly doesn't announce his intention soon. He said other schools probably started calling recruits shortly after the news broke.

``There will be kids looking at other schools now. I don't see that happening unless Kelly's telling them he's not leaving,'' Lemming said.

Kelly, who was believed to be out of the country, originally signed a five-year contract three years ago at a reported $2.5 million a year and was given a two-year extension a year ago. Athletic director Jack Swarbrick told reporters Sunday he had planned to talk with Kelly about extending his contract. Swarbrick did not respond to messages left by The Associated Press at his office or on his cellphone seeking comment. Neither did Kelly's agent, Trace Armstrong.

Kelly told reporters in Florida before the game that Notre Dame was his dream job, but said while he was coaching at Cincinnati he was focused on that. He then added: ``I think that's the same thing with the NFL.''

``I think 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 thankful for the opportunity that I have,'' he said.

The question is, will he have another opportunity? He is the first Notre Dame coach in recent memory to interview for another job. Former Irish coach Charlie Weis was given a 10-year contract when there were reports the New York Giants might be interested in talking to him.

Former Big Eight Commissioner Chuck Neinas, who has spent years helping coaches and administrators find jobs and recently spent about 10 months as the Big 12 interim commissioner, said it's hard to tell what might motivate a coach to interview for a job.

``Some people might be using this as a stepping stone, others to get their name out, that they're movable,'' he said. ``But I think most people that interview are interested in the position.''

Kelly could be trying to get something more than a better contract, including more money for his assistants, and he has indicated he would like a massive scoreboard that can show video replays and synthetic turf at Note Dame Stadium.

Neinas said he doesn't think most coaches have hidden interests. He said his advice is to interview only if you want the job.

``I tell them, `If you're not interested, don't interview,''' he said.

But sports attorney Darren Heitner says Kelly owed it to himself to at least talk with the Eagles.

``Even if he had no intention of actually accepting that job, it is the most beautiful bargaining chip he has in his possession. Even if the entire time he intended to stay, why not entertain the offer and perhaps get some more money into his pocket?'' he said.

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.

RELATED: RANKING THE CAPITALS' TOP PROSPECTS

Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.

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New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

New free agent Doug Martin unlikely fix to Redskins' woeful run game

News broke Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Bucaneers released former Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, and while the name certainly triggers value, his play of the last two seasons should calm the excitement. 

Since a 2015 season where Martin rushed for 1,400 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards-per-carry in 16 games, Martin has been suspended, undergone substance abuse rehab and missed games due to injury.

In the last two seasons, Martin has played in 16 of 32 games, rushed for 827 yards and averaged less than 3 yards-per-carry.

Over his six year NFL career with the Bucs, Martin has only played two full seasons. Those two seasons were great, in 2012 and 2015, but the other four have been largely disappointing. 

RELATED: WHAT SHOULD THE REDSKINS DO AT RUNNING BACK?

The Redskins averaged just 3.6 yards-per-carry last season, and could definitely use a boost in the run game. It's entirely possible Washington might look to upgrade their offensive backfield this offseason, either in free agency or in the 2018 NFL Draft, but Martin does not look like the player to help. 

Early in the 2017 season, it appeared the Redskins run game might be a strength for the offense. After a disappointing effort on the ground to open the year in a loss to the Eagles, the Redskins rushed for at least 111 yards in their next three contests, including nearly 230 yards on the ground in a Week 2 win over the Rams. 

Injuries undid the run game, however, as Rob Kelley got hurt and the offensive line lost players, too. Over the course of the season, rookie Samaje Perine sustained minor injuries and Chris Thompson was lost for the year with a broken leg. 

Going into 2018, Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Kapri Bibbs are all on the roster and expected for now to stay with the team. That's yet another reason why the Redskins are likely to stay away from Doug Martin.

RELATED: 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 5.0

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