But Saleh told reporters Wednesday the whole story was “taken out of context.”
A 2019 article published by ESPN surfaced this week, detailing an awkward incident for Saleh and LaFleur in 2004 when the duo thought they had been invited to Kelly’s home for a party. Instead, Saleh recalled shoveling snow and valeting cars for the actual guests.
“We decided that when we’re in that position, we’re never going to treat people the way we got treated,” Saleh, who served as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator at the time, said. “And Matty’s lived up to it.”
Fast forward several years later, and Saleh seemingly regrets the mischaracterization.
“I feel terrible because that whole thing was taken out of context,” Saleh said, via the New York Post.
“When you’re coming up in this profession, part of that article was to tell a funny story of Matt and I as GAs. Part of being a GA — every single coach in this profession, there’s a rite of passage when you’re a GA, a [quality control coach], and that was a funny story and not an indictment on how Brian treated us,” he continued.
Kelly left Notre Dame after 12 seasons and with the Fighting Irish still in contention for a spot in the College Football Playoff. He was introduced Wednesday as LSU’s head coach.
“He’s a really good man, he treats people the right way,” Saleh added. “I know people are probably upset with him now and there’s never a right way to do things of that nature. I’m always one of his biggest fans.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.