There’s no shortage of reasons explaining the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to fire Chip Kelly, but here’s a simple one: It appears that his players did not like playing for him.
The strongest indictment against Kelly comes from an anonymous ex-Eagle who spoke to NJ.com. It’s unclear whether this player was actually on the team this season, but based on his quotes, he appears to have been an Eagle for at least part of Kelly’s tenure. He did not hold back:
“I know there were reports that Chip lost the locker room this season,” the ex-Eagles player said. “I can tell you, he never had the support of the team this year. It was a toxic situation from the moment I arrived. Those guys in that locker room almost universally despised him.”
“There are veteran offensive linemen on that team that spoke openly about only wanting to play out their contracts,” the ex-player said. “Just so they could get away from Chip Kelly.”
One anonymous former player talking mess isn’t a huge deal if it’s an isolated incident, but these quotes fit into a larger theme. There’s the report where running back DeMarco Murray told Eagles owner Jeff Lurie that he didn’t have any confidence in Kelly as a coach, and the time veteran offensive lineman Jason Peters took himself out of last weekend’s game because he didn’t want to get hurt playing for Kelly’s crappy team. What about cryptic tweets sent by Eagles players shortly after Kelly was fired? Do we have any of those? We do!
Add all of this to the chorus of former players who spent a good chunk of the last year calling Kelly a tyrant or implying that he’s a bit racist, and it’s hard to believe that the locker room hadn’t become toxic. If Kelly really did lose the respect of his players, Lurie didn’t have much of a choice in letting him go. No amount of brilliant offensive scheming can overcome a team despising its own coach.