PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chip Kelly is speaking with the media today at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando.
It’s the first time Kelly is speaking publicly about the trade rumors that have surrounded wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
Kelly confirmed that he has spoken with Jackson,that the wide receiver knows where the team stands. “I like DeSean, but we’re going to do what’s best for the team,” he said.
“My conversation between DeSean is between myself and DeSean,” Kelly added. “We got along well [last season]. DeSean did a good job. He played 16 games for us and practiced every day. I had no issues with him.”
DeSean Jackson did express a desire for a new contract after the team’s playoff loss to the Saints.
“He didn’t ask for a new contract. I think he was asked a question in the locker room post game, but DeSean never came to me or never came to anybody—Howie or anybody and said I wanted a new contract. He never came to us and said I want a new contract,” Kelly said. “I don’t care [that he went to the media about]. I really don’t care. My conversations about players are how we deal with our players as we deal with them face-to-face or talk to them. If someone wants to talk to the media and say different things I don’t send my message back to those guys through the media. So, if he has an issue with anything—and I’ve talked to him after the season and I’ve talked to him after that. I said, come talk to us and in that conversation that never came up.”
“I don’t deal with numbers. That’s not my job. My decisions are all where do guys play, fit, scheme-wise, all those other things,” Kelly said. “We have a general overall concept of how we do things, but I don’t sit there and punch cap numbers or anything like that.”
Jackson has sent several messages on Instagram that appear to the address the decision, and one clearly that did, saying that he and Kelly spoke.
“I think everybody does what they want on social media. I’m not a big social media guy. Guys have an off-season, they can do whatever they want. I’ve never looked at that as positive or negative, just kind of the society we live in.”
The Eagles did make an addition to the offense so far this season, in running back Darren Sproles, who is known primarily for his receiving acumen rather than carrying the ball out of the backfield.
“They’re totally different positions,” Kelly said of Sproles’ ability to potentially replace what Jackson gave the team. “I don’t look at it from that stand point. Darren [Sproles] is a running back, DeSean [Jackson] is a wideout. Our whole thing, and I mentioned it the other day when we got Darren, we’re excited about him. We’ve got a long way to go before we play a game, so let’s get him in here and start to go through phase one.”
The team has voluntary workouts beginning April 21st, but Kelly would not speculate whether Jackson would be there.
“I don’t anticipate anybody being on the roster at that point in time or I anticipate them all being. I’ve never been, and you guys have been around me for a year, I don’t predict the future. So when we get rolling on April 21st and we’ll get going. The other thing about April 21st is it’s not mandatory for anybody either,” Kelly said. “I anticipate Nick Foles being here for the next 999 years. Last year was 1,000 so now we’re down a year. When we show up on April 21st we’re going to have our first team meeting and we’ll go from there.”
The conversation with Kelly then turned to quarterbacks, as it almost always does when the Eagles are the topic.
“I think, obviously we lost Mike [Vick], so we’re always trying to look in that backup position behind Nick [Foles] in terms of what we can do to bolster it and whether it’s through free agency who is still available now or if it’s through the draft. We’ll see where we go, but it’s a position of need for us. We played three quarterbacks last year,” Kelly said. “I don’t think you can look at your roster and ever say, hey we’re good at quarterback. I think you always have to look at that position. It’s the key position in this game and it’s something we’re always going to look at. I don’t think anybody is ever going to say, hey I got too many quarterbacks.”
One rumor had the Eagles acquiring former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez.
“He’s a very good athlete. He’s played—started 60 some odd games in this leagues. He’s got great experience. There’s a lot of positive qualities to him.”
Kelly then talked about the Eagles replacing two leaders they’ve lost this offseason.
“We had two great ones in Jason [Avant] and Michael [Vick] and with them gone—but I think there are some younger players that are ascending up that. The Connor Barwin’s who is now going into year two. Jason Kelce is a guy that I think is now no longer a young rookie just trying to make the team,” Kelly said. “There’s younger players I think as you add to your roster. I can see guys, after the short time I met with Malcolm Jenkins, I could see him moving into a role like that. Having a guy like Darren [Sproles] after listening to what everybody in the Saints organization had to say about him. There’s always a certain amount of who’s staying, who’s going, who’s new to each team.”