It can be very difficult for an NFL head coach to have to part ways with certain athletes who have obvious potential, but just can’t cut it at the professional level.
It’s even more difficult for a guy like Philadelphia Eagles new head coach Chip Kelly, who has been used to the college game where these “bubble” athletes can usually be held onto as reserves. But when you are forced to whittle a roster down to just 53 men, like in the NFL, these questionable talents must be axed.
Even though Kelly decided to bolt the University of Oregon in order to accept the Eagles’ head coaching job, his first NFL gig, he couldn’t quite cut ties with a few of his former Oregon Ducks.
Early in the 2013 off-season, Kelly brought QB Dennis Dixon, a 5-year NFL vet, aboard to try and fight for a roster spot behind Eagles QBs Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Dixon played under Kelly for the Ducks in 2007, when ol’ Chip was only the squad’s offensive coordinator. Dixon also brought WR Will Murphy, a more recent Ducks’ contributor, in following the 2013 NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent.
But unfortunately for both men, Kelly’s loyalty was ultimately trumped by the players’ lack of production, and the Eagles cut both Dixon and Murphy from their final roster.
The Birds’ offense will still be competing this season with one of Kelly’s former Ducks, as WR Jeff Maehl was acquired from the Houston Texans this off-season. Eagles FS Patrick Chung and LB Casey Matthews are also former Ducks who played under Kelly.
It was pretty obvious from the start that Dixon and Murphy were both pity-signings, but at least Kelly gave them a chance to prove their worth. And they failed.