Kelly On Peters: ‘I Will Never Question His Toughness’

Chip Kelly. (Jeff Fusco)

Chip Kelly. (Jeff Fusco)

After reports emerged that Jason Peters took himself out of the Eagles’ game against Washington Saturday night, Chip Kelly said today he doesn’t know whether that’s true.

“It wasn’t relayed to me that way. It’s just relayed Jason’s out. I didn’t get into that,” Kelly said. “We were just told he couldn’t go any longer.”

According to multiple reports, Peters, who injured his elbow during the game, took himself out because he “didn’t want the risk of getting hurt for a team that is not going to the playoffs.” Peters played 56 offensive snaps (69 percent), while Dennis Kelly was on the field for the other 25 plays (31 percent).

“Jason has been playing hurt all season long,” Kelly said. “I don’t think people realize what he’s gone through to get out on the field. But again, when I’m told on the sideline, I never say, ‘Hey, explain to me what went on.’

“We’re certainly not going to tell a player that, ‘No, you’re not hurt and you have to go back into the game.’ I’ve never done, never will do that. That’s not how we’re operating. But in terms of Jason as a person, he’s played through a lot since I’ve been here in my three years here, and I will never question his toughness.”

With the Eagles’ latest loss, they’re now eliminated from the playoffs and are guaranteed to finish with a losing record. According to Kelly, his team’s poor play isn’t “a talent” issue.

“It didn’t go our way, but I don’t think we’re a bad football team. Not by any stretch,” Kelly said. “I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job as coaches and putting them in position to make plays. But I don’t think we need to revamp this entire group of guys because I think we got some really, really good guys.”

Kelly also mentioned that Jeffrey Lurie is “very disappointed” in the Eagles’ 6-9 record, and discussed whether he’d be open to the owner taking back some of his power.

“The owner decides whatever he wants to decide,” Kelly said. “It’s his team. He can do whatever he wants. It’s always been that way.”

Kelly said his “job has never changed,” citing how he doesn’t negotiate contracts. According to an Eagles’ press release in January, Kelly oversees the player personnel department. The head coach, however, rejected that today.

“I’m not the general manager so I don’t run our personnel department,” Kelly said. “I’m not in charge of scouting. I didn’t tell our scouts where they’re going; Ed Marynowitz does a great job with that. The only difference is I was in control of the 53-man roster, now I’m in control of the 90-man roster.”

Kelly also reiterated that the Eagles wouldn’t have traded for Sam Bradford if they only intended to keep him for one year. The quarterback said on Saturday that he’d like to return to Philadelphia next season, which Kelly said he already knew.

“I know where Sam stood the whole season and we’re on the same page in terms of where we are, it’s just we don’t negotiate during the season with anybody,” Kelly said. “So that wasn’t a ‘Hey, we don’t want Sam back.’ That’s just the way it is. Players shoudn’t be worried about a contract while the season is going on and that will be something that we will address after the season. That may be news to you guys, but it’s not news to us that Sam is happy here.”

Asked about the Eagles’ philosophy of not negotiating contracts during the season, the head coach said “that’s the way it was explained to me.”

“That’s just the organization’s [philosophy], and I agree with it,” Kelly said. “I don’t think any player should go be going out there on Sunday worrying about, ‘Do I have a contract? Do I not have a contract?’ That’s not what it’s about.”