Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t a doctor, but he sometimes plays one on his team’s sideline. And elsewhere. Eagles coach Chip Kelly has no desire to do that.
Asked on Thursday why Kelly takes a hands-off approach to injuries, the coach was pragmatic.
“Because I’m not a doctor, so ‑‑ I mean, I think that’s simple,” Kelly told reporters. “I can’t tell the guy, you know, ‘You’re this, you’re that.’ Just tell me who can play and who can’t play. I think people waste a lot of time on things that you don’t control.
“No, I don’t control injuries; so, if someone can play, the doctors and the medical staff here I think are outstanding. They tell me who can and who can’t. For me to weigh in on it is ludicrous. What am I going to ‑‑ what position could I take? ‘Dr. [Peter] DeLuca, I see it this way.’ It’s kind of stupid, right?”
So why does Kelly want detailed info about player sleep habits and nutrition but not detailed injury information?
“Because I can’t affect that,” Kelly said. “I can affect their sleep patterns. I can’t affect their injury, though. If a guy tore a muscle ‑‑ I’m not Dr. Miyagi. I can’t put my hands together, rub them together, touch his leg and make him better. Just tell me who can play, who can’t play. I’m really good at what we can control and what we can’t control, and we can’t control that. So let’s go play.”
He’s right, to an extent. Sometimes a stern talking-to from the coach transforms an injured player into a guy who can play. Because sometimes a guy doesn’t feel like playing and is looking for a way to avoid it.
Of course, that problem can be addressed by having the right guys on the roster — guys who won’t milk an injury to avoid practice or games. Even then, Kelly apparently wouldn’t do anything about it.
“We never force a player to play here,” Kelly said. “I can’t turn around and tell a rookie, ‘I know you think it feels like this, but it doesn’t. Go play.'”
The wisdom in Kelly’s approach could be that he trusts the locker room to keep guys honest, policing the roster for anyone who may be embellishing.