Jim Mora on NFL interest: 'I'm very happy at UCLA'

On Monday, reports surfaced around the internet that UCLA's Jim Mora was targeted by several NFL franchises looking for a new head coach.

The fact that there's interest in the former Falcons and Seahawks head coach is no surprise, but he joined "The Rich Eisen Show" on Tuesday to try to dispel some of the rumors that have been circulating about his future in Westwood and beyond.

"I think it's always a compliment to your program and the success that you're having when other people mention you -- whether it's real or fabricated," Mora said. "I've never wavered from saying that I'm very happy at UCLA. I love college football and I'm happy coaching the Bruins. I've not made any overtures toward an NFL team and my agent hasn't.

"I love college football because I relate well to the players. They appreciate the emotion and passion I bring."

Mora, who is 29-11 in three years with the Bruins, recently capped off his second consecutive 10-win season with the team and a likely top-10 ranking in the final polls following a win in the Alamo Bowl over Kansas State. Although he has spent the bulk of his coaching career at the professional level, he's revitalized UCLA after years of languishing in crosstown rival USC's shadow and, in turn, helped make himself a hot name for open coaching positions.

With an important recruiting period coming up in the next week, however, one can understand why Mora wanted to clear the air on where he would be in 2015.

The 53-year-old also tried to quash the controversy surrounding his post-game handshake with Wildcats coach Bill Snyder following the Alamo Bowl. Mora was caught on cameras only briefly shaking Snyder's hand before walking away and was later visibly upset when discussing the ending of the game a few minutes later with the KSU coach.

"It was a quick handshake but it was in no means meant to be disrespectful to coach Snyder," said Mora. "I was a little bit bothered by the way the end of the game happened. I had wanted to shake hands and then move to celebrate with my team.

"Knowing myself, I felt it was best to move in and move out before we got into a discussion that may have turned the wrong way."

Several Kansas State players were seen diving at the ball and the pile in the final seconds of the five-point win when UCLA entered victory formation to take a knee and close out the game.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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