Less than a year ago, Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles dealt with a potentially divisive situation in the locker room. Riley Cooper used one of the most heinous words in the English language at a Kenny Chesney concert.
The media fallout was enormous. The story was the lead on SportsCenter and other programs for a number of days. The Eagles had to cut him, right? Nope. Instead, they had him seek counseling and he was back with the team practicing in the blink of an eye.
Whether the team wants to admit it or not, part of that had to do with need. Jeremy Maclin had just gone down with a season-ending injury and the Eagles were paper thin at the receiver position. Eventually, it was almost like the issue was swept under the rug and Cooper went on and had his most productive season as a pro.
All this is pertinent because the Eagles faced similar yet different circumstances with mercurial wideout DeSean Jackson and handled it completely differently. They didn’t wait to get the full facts on any gang affiliations or hear Jackson’s side of the story. In a cold and calculating manner, they cut bait with by far their most productive wideout.
Why such a different result with Jackson, who is unquestionably the better talent? Apparently after only one season, Kelly had his fill. Jackson was reportedly late for meetings, had a bad work ethic and an overall apathetic demeanor. The gang ties, contract demands and burglary of his home only added gallons of fuel to the fire.
Kelly is of the mind that no individual is greater than the team. He thinks he can plug guys in to his system and have them flourish, whether they’re big names or not. This is certainly one of the more bizarre situations the Eagles have dealt with in some time.
At this point the Eagles’ offense has taken a major hit. It looks like Kelly will have a chance to test his theory that anyone can thrive in his system this season.