PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — LeSean McCoy is angry. Very angry. The Eagles’ all-time leading rusher is so livid at his former coach, Chip Kelly, for trading him to the Buffalo Bills that he’s let things spill from his mouth that probably shouldn’t.
Any head of a professional sports franchise in the modern era, anyone who is a captain of industry, can’t survive today if they were a racist. They would be quickly found out, then thrown out.
Kelly is a lot of things. The Eagles’ coach may be socially challenged, carries an unbending stubbornness that serves as both strength and weakness, and likes to control his surroundings. Kelly is still stuck in college, feeling stars, black or white, are interchangeable parts.
But a racist—that would be an emphatic no!
It’s not the star African-American players in the Eagles’ locker room that should be looking over their shoulders for Kelly, it’s Andy Reid’s holdovers that should be more concerned with how much longer they are Eagles.
Kelly wants the Eagles to be his team. There are still strong remnants of the Reid era sprinkled around for his liking—McCoy and Jackson were among them.
Kelly has no tolerance for what Evan Mathis is doing, and he may soon be gone. He had issues with Todd Herremans’ body giving out—gone. Mychal Kendricks may soon be gone, too, because he doesn’t fit Kelly’s tall physical prototype. Not because he’s African-American.
Kelly sees football players. That’s all he sees. He measures players by intelligence, speed, height, weight and attitude—and how quickly they can absorb and buy into his system. He doesn’t measure by a player’s skin color.
It’s why McCoy’s statement in an interview with ESPN The Magazine is ludicrous.
To revisit, McCoy told ESPN The Magazine of his relationship with Kelly, “The relationship was never really great. I feel like I always respected him as a coach. I think that’s the way he runs his team. He wants the full control. You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest. That’s the truth. There’s a reason. … It’s hard to explain with him. But there’s a reason he got rid of all the black players—the good ones—like that.
“Oh, man. People have heard it. I mean … (ESPN’s) Stephen A. Smith has talked about it. Other players have talked about it. But that’s one of the things where you don’t even care no more. I’m on a new team, ready to play. So it’s nothing to do with Chip. I have no hatred toward him, nothing to say negative about him. When he got (to Philadelphia), I didn’t know what to expect. When he let DeSean (Jackson) go last year, I was like: ‘C’mon. DeSean Jackson?’ So it is what it is.”
What it is—or was—was Jackson was a constant, whiny complainer who didn’t adhere to Kelly’s culture and system. He had ostracized many of his teammates and challenged Kelly and his staff. It’s why he was given the boot.
And McCoy was close to being given Kelly’s toe right after Jackson if he didn’t follow along with Kelly’s script, a number of sources close to the Eagles confirmed.
McCoy felt he did enough to buy in. Kelly, apparently after two seasons, did not.
What finally did McCoy in for Kelly was his offseason work ethic. Or lack of.
McCoy spent part of the offseason in Miami looking to hit—and it wasn’t the weight room or to run in the sand, numerous sources said. Kelly supposedly didn’t like the fact that McCoy was a jelly belly; that he wasn’t taking the offseason conditioning program as seriously as everyone else on the team.
Kelly likes players who are committed to football, and committed to “Kelly’s way.”
Jeremy Maclin was. Kelly wanted to keep Maclin—but Maclin felt he was better treated by Reid. Plus, he was raised in Missouri—and he was getting paid more.
Jackson and McCoy are fairly close, and there probably was talk between them that Kelly may have had a certain slant against “all the black players—the good ones,” considering Kelly kept Riley Cooper on the team.
But the fact is, Kelly treats his pros like they’re in college, and McCoy and Jackson wanted to be the treated like “NFL stars,” sources close to both admitted over the last few years. That’s where the real schism lies.