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ND’s Stephon Tuitt says he’ll be back — or will he?

Updated: November 19, 2013 9:44AM



South Bend — Stephon Tuitt is a projected first-round pick for the 2014 NFL draft.

Will the defensive end declare for the draft? Or will he return to Notre Dame for his senior year?

The answer, like a good cliffhanger, will have to wait until after the season.

“I pretty much made it clear to our players that any decisions relative to the status that our players have relative to the NFL that we’ll exhaust all of their means relative to the NFL and their draft status as well as talking to their family members at the end of the season,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Thursday.

“And so no decisions will be made as long as I’m the head coach until the end of the season. We won’t be making any announcements.”

Tuitt’s future became a topic of discussion after comments he made to Notre Dame’s student newspaper, The Observer.

“I’m coming back next year,” Tuitt told The Observer Wednesday. “I’m a junior. I still have one year.”

Kelly clarified Tuitt’s remarks Thursday.

“More than anything else he kind of stumbled into the question and answer and didn’t probably answer it in the manner he wanted to. He was saying ‘yes, I’ve got another year and I’m coming back,’” Kelly said. “I think his intentions weren’t to say that he was necessarily making a decision.

“… I think Stephon just got caught in the question. It was an honest answer to a question that he probably wishes he could have answered a little bit better if he was asked the question again.”

Kelly said Tuitt’s family and getting his degree will factor into the decision. Tuitt has 18 tackles and three sacks this year. He had a team-high 12 sacks in 2012.



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