By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Eagles’ defensive coordinator Billy Davis liked Brandon Boykin, like, it seems, everyone else in and around the Eagles.
After Boykin was traded for a conditional fifth-round draft pick to Pittsburgh on Saturday, he fired off a text message to Comcast SportsNet’s Derrick Gunn saying that Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly is “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture,” implying that race could have been involved in the decision.
“He can’t relate and that makes him uncomfortable,” Boykin said in the text to Gunn. “He likes total control of everything, and he don’t like to be uncomfortable. Players excel when you let them naturally be who they are, and in my experience that hasn’t been important to him, but you guys have heard this before me.”
On Sunday, when Boykin joined the Steelers, he tried to retract part of that statement, saying, “I said he was uncomfortable with men of our culture and I’m not saying he’s a racist at all. That’s not what I said. That was taken out of context. When you’re a player, you want to be able to relate to your coach off the field. There were times he just didn’t talk to people. You would walk down the hallway, he wouldn’t say anything to you. I’m not saying he’s a racist in any way. I felt a lot of guys in that locker room feel the same way. Of course, when you’re in the organization, you’re not going to voice your opinion. For me, I’ve always been a guy of honesty. Not trying to put anybody out in any way, but if you’re honest with me, I’ll be honest with you, and I felt like that honesty wasn’t there all the time.”
On Monday, Davis was asked to react to the decision to trade Boykin and the controversial fallout by Boykin’s comments.
Asked why Boykin wasn’t on the roster, Davis said, “From an organizational standpoint, you make a decision, and we were all part of that decision. Brandon gave us quality starting reps, but the guys behind him, and the guys that would replace him were close enough, in again theory, that gave us options there. There’s enough options there that made it a good move for us as an organization.”
Davis also defended Kelly and how he interacts with the players.
“He’s outstanding,” Davis said. “I say that in all sincerity. He has one of the most open door policies of any of the guys I’ve been around. And you can look at the guys I’ve been around to make your own assessments. Some of those guys had closed-door policies. He is wide open. Boyk went in the off-season and had a long talk with Chip about his role, about outside corner, about nickel. We had great conversations with Brandon about all of those things. I think Chip has one of the biggest open-door policies that I’ve seen in the building. It’s really being portrayed outside differently than it is inside, because it really is an easy atmosphere.
“I can’t answer for any of those guys [that alleged Kelly had racial issues] and I’d be crazy for thinking and trying to answer that. I can just answer from my view, of being in 10 different organizations, with all kind of different head coaches, schemes and systems, I’m telling you from the bottom of my heart, this is a very great place for players. We do more for players than any place I’ve been around. We do more for their conditioning, their body, their health, their mental health, their growth, and all parts of being a man and a player than anywhere I’ve been around. I think it’s a couple of isolated guys and they have to answer their own questions about that.”