ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles coach Chip Kelly says LeSean McCoy was wrong to suggest he favors white players over black players, adding he never considers race when building his roster.
“I’ve got great respect for LeSean. However, in that situation, I think he’s wrong,” Kelly said Thursday. “We put a lot of time in looking at the characters and factors that go into selection and retention of players, and color’s never been one of them.”
Kelly traded McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in March for linebacker Kiko Alonso. McCoy wasn’t happy about the trade. The two-time All-Pro and leading rusher in franchise history then questioned Kelly’s motives in an interview with ESPN The Magazine this month.
“You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest,” McCoy said. “But there’s a reason he got rid of all the black players — the good ones — like that.”
McCoy referenced Kelly releasing star receiver DeSean Jackson a year earlier while keeping receiver Riley Cooper.
“That doesn’t hurt me,” Kelly said of the comments. “I’m not governed by the fear of what other people say. Events don’t elicit feelings. I think beliefs elicit feelings, and I understood what my beliefs are and I know who I am.”
Kelly said he doesn’t plan to address the team about the comments, and he hasn’t spoken to McCoy.
“I reached out to him twice and he didn’t accept my call,” Kelly said. “And I talked to his agent and told him I’d love to talk to him at some point, but I haven’t had a chance to touch base with him.”
The third-year coach isn’t concerned about perception outside the locker room.
“If you start chasing perception then you got a long life ahead of you, son,” Kelly said. “That’s what it’s all about if you’re worried about someone’s perception of what’s going on with you. You control one thing — you control yourself. And I know how we run this organization, and it’s not run that way.”
DeMarco Murray, who replaced McCoy, and other players defended Kelly.
“There are a lot of us out here,” Murray said while looking around at other black players on the team. “I’m not sure about that.”
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