Report: Brian Kelly apologizes to players

Updated: October 29, 2011, 7:37 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has apologized to players who were offended by remarks he made concerning recruits of the previous regime who are still playing for the Fighting Irish, the Chicago Tribune has reported, citing a source close to the team.

Kelly discussed the matter with a group of players at Friday's customary team dinner after voicing their feelings.

The meeting came a day after the coach's post-practice comments to the media resulted in several players taking to Twitter in apparent ire, the newspaper reported.

"You can see the players that I have recruited, you know who they are," Kelly said Thursday. "Weve had one class of kids that weve recruited that Ive had my hand on.

"The other guys here are coming along," Kelly added. "Its a process. It cant happen overnight. Theyre getting it. Theyre making good progress."

After opening the season with back-to-back losses, Notre Dame (4-3) appeared to be on the right track again with four straight wins, the last two in blowout territory, before a 31-17 loss to USC on Saturday night.

Kelly, in his second season with Notre Dame after Charlie Weis was fired, wasn't apologizing earlier in the week when some USC players said they had been surprised Notre Dame didn't call a timeout during the game's final drive, with Trojans linebacker Chris Galippo flat-out saying the Irish had quit.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley echoed that Monday, saying it seemed as if the Irish had given up.

"Our guys know what happened. They got their butts beat," Kelly said Tuesday. "They didn't play very well, and that comes with it. You get what you deserve."

But if the players had been mum on the topic of their late-game efforts, a wedge appeared to emerge late Thursday on social media, punctuated by a tweet written by junior linebacker Manti Te'o.

"Playin for my bros and that's it!!!!" Te'o posted, according to the Tribune.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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