PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Chip Kelly’s transition to the NFL involves more than turning the Philadelphia Eagles into a winner.
Since the team’s final minicamp ended last week, the Eagles have made headlines for a few off-field matters. The latest came Wednesday when five-time Pro-Bowl left tackle Jason Peters was arrested in north Louisiana for allegedly drag racing and trying to flee from police.
Peters, who didn’t play last season after twice tearing his Achilles tendon, is an integral part of Philadelphia’s offensive line. He missed some voluntary practices this spring for personal reasons, but appeared to be doing well and seemed fully recovered during last week’s mandatory sessions.
Handling this matter will be Kelly’s first off-field challenge since leaving Oregon to replace Andy Reid. Of course, he can’t say anything about it now because it’s a pending legal situation.
But Kelly made it clear the day he took the job that winning games isn’t the only important part of his job.
“When you just walk into this building and you see these pictures,” he said, referring to the franchise’s all-time greats, “it really makes you do a double take. But it also makes you understand that every time you come to work, there’s a standard of excellence that this organization stands for. And I’ve got to hold that up and I’ve got to live up to that every single day.
“It kind of keeps you on your toes and it makes you understand what this place is all about. That’s what excites me. I don’t know what the future holds from that standpoint but I know that this organization is one of the top organizations in all of sports, not just football. I don’t take that responsibility lightly.”
Other Eagles who created a stir in the past 10 days include Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Cary Williams.
Vick made a splash when he told one reporter last week that he hoped Kelly would name a starting quarterback before training camp. Jackson then backed up Vick’s point in an interview with NFL Network on Tuesday, saying the team preferred to know now whether it’ll be Vick or Nick Foles.
However, those opinions aren’t representative of all the players. Many of them understand Kelly needs more time to implement his full system and actually see the quarterbacks compete in real practices and preseason games before making a decision.
Meanwhile, Williams was vilified by fans and some media for missing voluntary workouts to deal with various personal issues ranging from attending his daughter’s dance recital to oral surgery to overseeing construction of his new home.
Williams said he takes pride in being a “great dad” and had no regrets about his decision. Perhaps his only mistake was engaging critics in conversation and trying to defend himself in the court of public opinion.
Williams was the starting cornerback for the Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens last year and skipped a trip to the White House to meet President Barack Obama so he can attend mandatory minicamp. Instead of getting credit for it, he spent last week answering questions about why he didn’t attend the voluntary sessions.
“I’m not doing anything negative,” Williams said. “I’m just trying to be a great dad, I’m just trying to be a great family man, I’m just trying to live my life outside of football and not be confined to just a box.”
Welcome to Philadelphia, Chip. Everything here is a big deal.
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