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Kelly will return to Notre Dame next season

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Kelly will return to Notre Dame next season

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will be trying for his first BCS championship, instead of a Super Bowl title, next season.

The third-year Fighting Irish coach, who interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in the week a day after the Irish were beaten 42-14 by Alabama in the BCS title game, 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 released by the university Saturday evening.

``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,'' he said.

The remarks were the first comments by Kelly since news broke late Wednesday that he had interviewed with the Eagles.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday night that he believes Kelly interviewing for an NFL job and deciding to stay in South Bend is a positive.

``I think what you get to say to young men is you're going to be coached by somebody who is recognized by the NFL as a really excellent NFL coach,'' Swarbrick said.

Swarbrick said he was confident all along that Kelly would be back, said he continued to negotiate a contract extension with Kelly's agent during the past week.

Swarbrick said those talks began in early December and were put on hold as the BCS game approached because Kelly wanted to be focused on the game.

Swarbrick said Kelly's talks with the Eagles didn't affect contract negotiations.

``There is nothing about either the dynamic or the substance which was changed by the past week,'' he said. ``Somewhere down the road we're both confident it will result in a revised agreement.''

Kelly 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

Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming of CBS College Sports said it was too early to tell whether Kelly's talk with the Eagles will hurt what was expected to be Kelly's best recruiting class at Notre Dame and possibly the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

``The key thing now is to call all the top players and assure them he's never going to leave while he's there, even if you lie, you've got to say it, and convince them it was just a thing,'' Lemming said. ``If they believe it, they'll stay.''

Lemming said the Irish already lost one recruit, linebacker Alex Anzalone, who is expected to enroll at Florida.

Kelly led the Irish to a 12-1 record this past season and a No. 4 ranking, their best finish since they were No. 2 with an 11-1 record after the 1993 season, which is the last season the Irish won a major bowl game.

The Irish haven't won a national championship since 1988. He failed to join Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz as Irish coaches who won national titles in their third seasons at the school.

``We still have a lot of work to do and my staff and I are excited about the challenges ahead,'' Kelly said.

The Eagles, who also interviewed Oregon coach Chip Kelly and Penn State's Bill O'Brien, said in a statement saying they spent a lot of time and effort looking at coaches they believed were the best collegiate candidates.

``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.''

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John Harbaugh talks Lamar Jackson and everything else that impressed him in 23-17 win

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John Harbaugh talks Lamar Jackson and everything else that impressed him in 23-17 win

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The 'easy' part of the Ravens schedule is over. 

They faced a team widely projected to have the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft in week one and faced the team that had the No. 1 pick in 2019 in Week 2. 

The Ravens got out of those two games at 2-0. But now, the true test of the season will happen as the Ravens head to Kansas City to face the also undefeated Chiefs. 

Ahead of one of the biggest games in the young NFL season, the Ravens have reason to feel good about how they’ve started, but also know what’s around the corner.

Here are a few things that stood out about Harbaugh’s press conference:

Lamar’s Stellar Sunday

Lamar Jackson may not have thought he had a strong day. But the statistics say otherwise. 

He finished with 272 yards passing and two touchdowns. He added 120 yards on the ground, finishing as the Ravens' leading rusher as well. He was the first player in NFL history to post those numbers in the same game. 

The Ravens also went 7-of-14 on third down, something Harbaugh credited Jackson with having the ability to do in a variety of ways. 

“I thought he was just tremendous,” Harbaugh said. “Both getting to the sticks by throwing the ball, and then when they had people covered and the offensive line did a good job sustaining the protection, by getting out and running to the sticks. He did it both ways. That’s all you can ever ask for from a quarterback to do that. Keeps a lot of pressure on the defense.”

Through the first two weeks of the season, Jackson has showcased both his arm and his legs. Now, it’ll be a matter of which poison he forces defenses to drink.

Brynden Trawick’s injury

The Ravens got relatively good news about special teams standout Brynden Trawick’s injury.  

Trawick was injured on the Ravens first punt of the second half on a block in the back penalty, which was called, and never returned to the game. On the play, he grabbed his left arm immediately and left the field in a significant amount of pain. 

“Trawick’s got an elbow/arm issue, so we’ll see,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a matter of whether or not he can deal with it. It’s not going to be a long term deal. Whether he can go this week or not is how he can deal with it, how he can operate with it.”

Trawick, a safety, played in 13 snaps on special teams before his injury. 

The team recently promoted Maurice Canady to the 53-man roster in light of cornerback Jimmy Smith’s MCL sprain and will now be down two members of the secondary.

Preparing for a shootout

The Ravens lost in Kansas City last year in overtime 27-24. This year, Harbaugh said there won’t be much new to it all.

“Our guys have been in that stadium, they’ve been in that tiny little locker room before, they’ve been on that field, stayed in that hotel,” Harbaugh said. “All those things are pluses. We played a good game, but we didn’t win. That’s motivation also.”

He said they’ll watch last year’s game, but so much has changed since then it’s hard to take much stock in it.

Last season, Jackson threw for only 147 yards in the loss. This year, he’s eclipsed that total twice — by rather large margins. 

“Of course, we’ll watch last year’s game, but teams change so much,” Harbaugh said. “They watch the game too. It’s always a new game. It’s really so important in this league in the sense of, yeah, there’s carryover always, but really it’s week-to-week. It’s game-to-game. No two games are ever going to be the same.”

Ravens make a minor move

Just after Harbaugh’s press conference, the Ravens added offensive guard Parker Ehringer to their practice squad, a former fourth-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016.

Ehringer spent 2018 in Dallas before heading to Jacksonville in the early part of the year. He was in 2019 training camp with the Cardinals.

A University of Cincinnati grad, Ehringer will fill the void of Greg Senat, who was waived last Saturday in place of Maurice Canady.

Marquise Brown’s potential meeting with the NFL

Marquise Brown hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.

But he is, according to a report from Pro Football Talk, likely speak with the NFL about the lawsuit surrounding his cousin, Antonio Brown. 

Antonio is accused in a lawsuit filed this month of raping his former trainer, twice in 2017 and once in 2018. The accuser, Britney Taylor, reportedly was scheduled to speak with the NFL on Monday.

The lawsuit, according to Pro Football Talk, reported Marquise as the unnamed player that was in attendance on one of the nights that Antonio allegedly raped the alleged victim in May of 2018.

When asked about the report from PFT on Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he wasn’t concerned about Marquise’s reported place in the lawsuit.

“It’s not going to be a distraction,” Harbaugh said. “Believe me, it’s the last thing on my mind right now. Absolutely.”

Harbaugh said the team hadn’t spoken to Marquise about the lawsuit or potential NFL interview either.

“My focus is on football,” he said. “If it comes to that, if there’s something that needs to be done that way, we have people in the building that look at those things. Until it comes to that, it’s not an issue.”

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Nationals manager Dave Martinez remains in Washington for further testing

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Nationals manager Dave Martinez remains in Washington for further testing

Davey Martinez remained in Washington for further medical testing, the Nationals announced Monday. Bench coach Chip Hale will manage the team Monday night instead.

Martinez left Sunday’s series finale against the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning because he was not feeling well. He went to a local hospital for further examinations upon the recommendation from Nationals medical staff. They said at the time they expected Martinez to join the team in St. Louis, though they did not specify when.

Hale, 54, joined the Nationals’ staff as bench coach when Martinez was hired ahead of the 2018 season. The Baltimore Orioles interviewed him this offseason for their open managerial position.

Hale has replaced Martinez following each of Martinez’s ejections this season.

Hale managed the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2015-16, where his teams went a combined 148-176. He’s also been the third base coach for the New York Mets, the bench coach for the Oakland A’s, and even a Triple-A manager. Prior, Hale was a part-time major leaguer for seven seasons.

The Nationals open a three-game series Monday night in St. Louis. They have a 1 ½-game lead for homefield in the Wild-Card Game. They are just 2 ½ games in front of Milwaukee for a postseason berth. Just 14 games remain in the season. 

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