Kelly will return to Notre Dame next season


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — 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.

Eagles interviewing

Gus Bradley

PHILADELPHIA — Gus Bradley, meet the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles are interviewing Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in Atlanta, two people familiar with the meeting told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Bradley is the eighth candidate interviewed since the Eagles fired Andy Reid on Dec. 31 following a 4-12 finish. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams aren’t commenting on the interview.

Seattle plays the Falcons in a NFC divisional playoff game today. If Bradley is their guy, the Eagles can’t officially hire him until the Seahawks are eliminated.

“Well, it’s flattering. And I know people talk about our entire focus is on Atlanta and it really is,” Bradley said after Thursday’s practice. “It’s so important to us. We worked so hard to get to this point and our whole message to the team is to keep raising the bar and getting better and better every week. They’re talking that and we’re talking that, so it’s easy to stay focused on it. It’s flattering as you’ve all heard before. But our entire focus is on Atlanta and trying to get one step closer.”

Bradley is in his fourth season in Seattle. His defense finished first in the NFL in points allowed (15.3), fourth in yards (306.2) and tied for fourth in takeaways (31).

Goodell ok with

handling of

RG3’s injury

DENVER — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he doesn’t have a problem with the way the Washington Redskins medical staff handled Robert Griffin III’s knee injury.

Nevertheless, he’s anticipating changes in the way injuries not affecting the head are evaluated on the sideline.

Goodell was in Denver for Saturday’s Ravens-Broncos playoff game.

Griffin had reconstructive ACL surgery Wednesday after reinjuring his right knee in last Sunday’s playoff loss to Seattle. He also strained a ligament in the knee last month against Baltimore.

That raised questions whether Redskins coach Mike Shanahan should have let Griffin in either game after it was clear the quarterback was hurt.

Goodell said it was a “medical decision” and noted Griffin had no problem with it, either.

“Now, people can argue whether it was the wrong decision, but it was a medical decision and that’s what we want it to be,” Goodell said.

“Will we make further changes? Yeah, I would anticipate we will. We’ll always look at that and try to see what else we can do to make sure the proper medical attention is being given, that they make the best medical evaluation and it’s their determination to make.”

Asked if independent doctors were needed on the sideline, not those chosen by the team, Goodell insisted the physicians were impartial.

Cowher says

coaching again

in NFL not in plans

NEW YORK — Bill Cowher insists he’s staying in the studio and not returning to the sideline.

Cowher says Saturday on CBS’ “The NFL Today” that he has no plans to coach in the NFL, a few days after telling Newsday that he probably would come back at some point. The 55-year-old Cowher is an analyst for CBS who coached the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1992-2006. He won a Super Bowl after the 2005 season.

Cowher says he plans “on being with one team, and that is this team here at CBS. I know we are going to the Super Bowl.”

He told Newsday on Tuesday that returning to coaching after a long layoff is motivation for him to come back, but hadn’t been contacted by any teams looking for a new coach.

J.J. Watt,

Adrian Peterson,

unanimous All-Pros

NEW YORK — It’s unanimous, on both sides of the ball.

Vikings 2,000-yard man Adrian Peterson and Texans pass-swatting end J.J. Watt were unanimous choices for The Associated Press All-Pro team announced Saturday.

Peterson, who came within 9 yards of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, and Watt, who led the NFL with 20 1-2 sacks, were selected by all 50 members of a nationwide panel of media members who cover the league.

Peterson is a three-time All-Pro, while Watt represents lots of new blood. He’s among 17 players making their All-Pro debuts.

“Obviously it’s a huge honor, especially for being such a young guy,” said Watt, a second-year pro. “It’s crazy to even think about. It’s very humbling and very motivating. It makes me want to do it again and again.”

Peyton Manning made his sixth team, the previous five while quarterbacking Indianapolis. He led Denver to the AFC’s best record, 13-3.

Also chosen for the sixth time was Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez, who this season moved into second place on the career receptions list. San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis made it for the fifth time in his six pro seasons.

The 49ers had the most All-Pros, six: Willis, fellow LBs NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, guard Mike Iupati, safety Dashon Goldson and punter Andy Lee.

“As an organization, we take great pride in the success and recognition of our players,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. “This type of acknowledgement only comes from hard work and a team-first mentality, which all six of these men exhibit on a daily basis.”

Seattle center and Hawaii Prep graduate Max Unger was also named first-team All-Pro.