The week of over dramatic press conferences and random speculation is here. The Buffalo Bills are getting ready to take on the Philadelphia Eagles at the Lincoln Financial Field in a showdown that means a lot for both teams.
The 5-7 Eagles are tied for first place in the NFC East after a huge upset victory against the New England Patriots in Foxboro last Sunday. A win against Buffalo would put the Eagles in great position with three weeks to go.
The 6-6 Bills cannot win the AFC East, so their only shot is to make a wild card spot. Currently, they stand one game out as the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets both have a 7-5 record.
However, none of the huge playoff implications seem to matter. Eagles all-time leading rusher, LeSean McCoy returns to Philadelphia for the first time since Chip Kelly traded the running back to the Bills in March.
McCoy has not had nice things to say about Kelly since being traded. In the summer, McCoy hinted that Kelly may be a racist saying, “He got rid of all the good black players the fastest.”
Since those allegations have been made, McCoy has not backed the claim up with any real facts. He simply says he stands by what he said.
Seems immature to label a coach as being a racist with no reasoning for it. McCoy is acting like he is the only star that has ever traded. Heck, Joe Montana was traded.
Kelly was the bigger man this week, apologizing to McCoy in his Thursday morning press conference. He said that the trade was not handled properly, and he fully understands why McCoy would be upset and not want to shake Chip’s hand. Kelly claims he was unable to call McCoy personally as the trade leaked out before the Eagles and Bills could finish processing the trade.
It is understandable why the best Eagles runner of all time would be mad at getting traded with such little notice. However, McCoy’s belief as to why he was traded is false. In fact, most opinions about why Chip traded McCoy are false.
Many believe that Kelly traded McCoy because he was a selfish player that threatened Chip’s power. Apparently, Kelly did not like McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, or anyone he parted ways with because he wants to be the star of the show.
That is simply not true.
In fact, Kelly only said positive things about McCoy as a player saying, “McCoy did everything we asked of him for two years. I have tremendous respect for him as a player, and as a person.”
Former Eagles offensive lineman, Julian Vandervelde had nothing but good things to say about his former running back when he played with him from 2011 to 2014.
“I don’t know what the reality was for trading him,” said Vandervelde. “I know he was always high energy, maximum volume. You knew when Shady was in the room. He was a leader, sure. Didn’t complain more than anyone else about touches. But almost always positive. Very happy guy.”
Kelly being a racist is not the answer either. Most of the Eagles roster is made up of African American players.
The real reason Kelly traded McCoy was two things:
- Money – McCoy would have had a cap hit of $11.9 million on the Eagles this season. Kelly freed up some space by taking on Kiko Alonso’s $700,000 contract in the trade with Buffalo.
- Scheme fit – Chip Kelly was becoming frustrated with McCoy’s running style. Kelly likes a down hill, one cut runner that keeps the chains moving in a fast paced offense that can’t afford to be slowed down with runs for negative yards.
Yes, McCoy is the most dynamic runner that can, literally, break ankles with his shiftiness.
However, do not blame Kelly for spending $11.3 million for three running backs that fit his system better, rather than $11.9 million for one running back that was coming off a season where he had a career low in yards-per-carry at 4.2.
Many fans still love McCoy. He brought excitement, and clutch performances when it mattered most. One day, his jersey will, most likely, be retired in Philadelphia. However, McCoy has not handled the trade in a professional way.
His sour grapes may be appealing to Rex Ryan, who devours this kind of stuff, however the selfishness could backfire on the Bills.
Chip Kelly may be a different head coach that handles things in a different way, and a coach with a huge ego, however he is still a leader that many of his players look to when times get tough.
“I think it’s always tougher on a coach when the season isn’t going as planned,” said Vandervelde. “Fans get mad, media turns sour, and everyone second guesses what you’re doing. I think he’s just so focused on winning football games he doesn’t seem to relate to anyone. But outside of a football setting, he relates just fine.”
Hopefully McCoy and Kelly can bury the hatchet at some point down the road, maybe starting this Sunday.
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