One day after LeSean McCoy said "Chip can’t shake (expletive)," Chip Kelly himself had a chance to speak again. The Philadelphia Eagles head coach rehashed the trade that send the running back to Buffalo in deeper, thought-out detail.
Kelly said the Eagles dealt McCoy to free up money and sign quarterback Sam Bradford, apologized for how the trade went down and wishes the team would've handled it different. And Kelly reiterated he'd shake McCoy's hand on Sunday if McCoy extended his hand.
Here were a few of his responses...
On his thoughts of the McCoy trade now: "With the benefit of time, I think we did the right thing at the time. I mean, we traded an outstanding running back for a linebacker, but we also traded $700,000 for $11.9 million. So I think with all those situations there is money involved, and one of the things is that we had a lot of players that were older at the end of their contracts that were getting paid big money. That is one of the things in this league is sometimes a guy signs a four-year, $45 million contract, but it's two years at $16 (million) guaranteed and the rest of it isn't. And then the back-end years are really high, so you have to make decisions when guys aren't in guaranteed years of what you're going to do. So however you look at it, whether it gave us an opportunity to get somebody defensively with that extra money or it gave us an opportunity because we had to free up money to get Sam (QB Sam Bradford), it was a tough decision. But with all those guys that we let go last year that were integral to my first two years here, those decisions were made by money. Those decisions aren't made because we don't think they're good football players or we don’t think they are good people. I think people kind of forget that. When we look at it, that's a lot of money. We have three running backs this year (and) their salary cap hit this year for us is $11.1 (million). We had one guy making $11.9 (million). So we just had to make a decision: ‘Can we get by or handle this a different way?’ And we always talked about how we had to reallocate money to the defensive side of the ball."
On if McCoy was willing to restructure his deal: "That's not what his agent told us. ... I'm not going to get into the discussions, but that was not the conversation that we had with his agent.
On what he thinks McCoy's issues are with him: "I don't know and I haven't had a chance to talk to LeSean."
On shaking his hand: "They asked me if I would shake his hand, and yeah, I would shake his hand."
On if it bothers him McCoy doesn't want to: "That's his choice, and I understand that. How he was traded wasn't handled right, and I've said that before. I did not get an opportunity to talk to him, and it's a lesson that we should never do, to be honest with you. We were told that the trade wasn't initiated and wouldn't be initiated until the next morning, so there were no phone calls to be made, and then all of the sudden, I'm driving to an event and he's been traded. I felt bad that I didn't get a chance to talk to him.
"I called him. He didn't answer my phone call. I know he was (ticked) and he should be (ticked), rightly so. Every player that's ever left this team, I've talked to them personally myself. Everyone that's in town, we talk to them individually here in our office. I talk to them, the coordinator talks to them, the position coach talks to them. We have a way that we do it that I think is the right way to do it, and it wasn't exercised in that case and I understand why he's bothered. He was an all-time leading running back here, felt like he was disrespected and it was wrong. Because I was part of it, it's on me.
"When we traded for Sam and for Nick with Jeff Fisher, it was a great situation. Jeff and me were both on the phone together and said, ‘Alright, when are you going to make the call? Let's call now. When we're done with our phone calls with our players, text each other.’ He texted me he was done. I texted him I was done. I then called Sam, he then called Nick. That's the way it should have been done. It wasn't handled that way with LeSean, and I understand why he's not happy about it, and he should not be happy about it. And I would apologize for that, because it didn't happen the right way. But from our standpoint, we thought the trade wasn’t going to be initiated until the next morning, so there was no phone call to be made until the league approves the trade.
"I understand where he's coming from and if he doesn't want to shake my hand, I understand that. But I will always shake his hand. If he extends his hand to me, I would always shake his hand."
"I have great respect for him as a player. Everything we asked him to do here, he did. He was an outstanding football player for two years here. The only reason that he wasn't here is the money was too high. He’s still a really good football player in this league. I don't know if I can say anything else besides that. ... I do have great respect for LeSean. I think he's a heck of a football player, and we’re going to have our hands full when we play him this week."