Not long ago, college football coaches pursued NFL jobs discreetly. They didn’t want to risk undermining the current recruiting class, or to affect future recruiting classes by acquiring the reputation of a guy who is looking to leave.
Recently, the game has changed. Now, more and more college coaches are willing to create the perception of having one foot out the door if it gives rise to the reality that they’ll bury one hand into their current employer’s pocket.
From Chip Kelly to Bill O’Brien to Jim Mora to, perhaps now, Brian Kelly, the script is becoming clear. Flirt with the NFL, rattle your current employer, and sit back and wait for the concessions to come.
In Brian Kelly’s case, there has been zero discretion. Within minutes, multiple reporters knew that he’d met with the Eagles. From FOX’s Jay Glazer to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer to Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com to possibly even others who I’m forgetting or don’t particularly feel like mentioning because, yeah, I’m that guy sometimes. (Or more often than that.)
And so it’s no surprise that Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated writes that "[a] Notre Dame source tells me that the expected result of Kelly’s NFL flirtation is a raise and an extension.”
Of course it is. It’s the expected result because it was and is the intended result.
Unfortunately, everyone except the three folks who are searching for the next Eagles coach realize that. Which means that, eventually, they may have to bite the bullet and call Jon Gruden.