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Rumor: Lions to pursue Brian Kelly if Jim Schwartz doesn't return in 2014

Rumors are already swirling about who the Detroit Lions' head coach will be in 2014.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

If the Detroit Lions fail to put together a winning season in 2013, there's a pretty good chance that they will fire head coach Jim Schwartz. Changes could even be made to the front office if the Lions have another disappointing season. There's a lot of pressure on Schwartz and company to produce a winning product after going 4-12 in 2012.

If the Lions are unable to bounce back and the decision is made to fire Schwartz, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly could be in the mix to replace him, according to Pro Football Talk. This is merely a rumor at best, but PFT reports that the "theory" is that the Lions will pursue Kelly if they fail to turn things around this year and Schwartz is canned.

Kelly was actually connected to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year before Chip Kelly was ultimately hired as their new head coach. After going 12-1 and leading Notre Dame to the BCS National Championship Game last season, Kelly seemingly gave some thought to jumping to the NFL, but he ultimately decided to remain the head coach of the Fighting Irish. According to PFT, the belief now is that Kelly will in fact leave for the NFL at some point.

More than anything, this seems like a story that is simply worth keeping in mind down the road if the scenario about the Lions having a rough season and Schwartz being fired actually plays out. The Lions will undoubtedly pursue several coaching candidates should they need to replace Schwartz, and Kelly could very well be one of them. He has won at various schools at the college level, including Central Michigan and Grand Valley State, and several NFL teams have hired college coaches in recent years.

Admittedly, it feels pretty ridiculous to be talking about a potential coaching candidate three months before the season for a job that isn't even open. I suppose that's what happens when your head coach is on the hot seat, but how about we let the season play out before spending too much time thinking about candidates for a job that is currently occupied?

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