Owner: Riley Cooper incident proved Chip Kelly’s leadership

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Coach Chip Kelly’s impact on the Eagles on the field is easy to see.

But to owner Jeffrey Lurie, the way his rookie coach handled this summer’s Riley Cooper incident was proof that he hired the right man before Kelly coached a game.

He brings people together, and he’s dynamic,” Lurie said of Kelly, via Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Cooper’s a good example, a really good example.”

After Cooper was caught on videotape using the ugliest of the racial slurs, Kelly was able to smooth things out to get his team to coexist. Lurie recalled his new coach walking into his office and saying: “Here’s how I’d like to handle it.”

“Chip had a plan of how to deal with the humanness of it all,” Lurie said. “He really was able to help get the team together through the adversity. That’s what you have to do in the NFL, because you’re always going to have things like that.

“It wasn’t sort of a knee-jerk reaction. It was a thoughtful reaction, and he understands the locker room and the players and the chemistry and what needed to be done. It wasn’t like he was a populist politician or something. It’s about true leadership, not superficial leadership.”

Cooper went away for a few days, a team meeting was called to give everyone a chance to talk, and then Kelly left it to players to handle, with quarterback Michael Vick playing a significant role in helping him back in.

Granted, all those actions were based in part on the fact the Eagles needed Cooper on the field. A player who wasn’t so important to their plan may well have been handled differently.

But Kelly’s ability to put out his first fire showed his boss that bigger things were possible, and Kelly’s already delivering that too.

21 responses to “Owner: Riley Cooper incident proved Chip Kelly’s leadership

  1. Coach of the year! Chip is the second coach in NFL history to win the division in his first season. Given the roster that he inherited, the off-field issues and his starting qb going down early, there is no better candidate for the award.

  2. Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh, Chip Kelly. People actually said college coaches couldn’t work out in the NFL, lol.

  3. Just wish that ALL the “experts” that predicted Chip was “in over his head”, his offense was a “gimmick”, that he would “fail miserably” would send an apology to a man that in his rookie year cane in and set the league on fire, dealt with adversity, and won his division!… This team has only one of his draft classes and his top 4 picks are contributing majorly this year. These old school guys who haven’t adjusted to the way the game is played now and how the rules have forced innovation are doomed to watch coaches like Chip own the league.

  4. Chip has officially earned his NFL head coaching headset with the way he’s handled business since entering Philadelphia, not to mention winning the NFC East. It’s a great story when a ‘college coach’ successfully transitions to the NFL game.

  5. No, the players all realized the Riley comment was blown way out of proportion and I’m sure Chip and the fellas laughed their collective a$$es off behind closed doors.

  6. this just proves that people are not as ignorant as the media and know better than to buy into a story of racism when everyone knows that it is the hot button and the media will do what ever it takes to blow something up for ratings.

    fans 2- media 0, fans win on this and the media’s attempt to blow up the bullying scandal and nobody fell for it.

  7. Chip is incredible. Right when this happened I knew we’d either rally from this or we’d be boarding the same sinking ship as last year. This just adds to the already incredible 2013 season, but it’s not done yet.

  8. At the time, Cooper was not “so important to their plan” per say. He was a marginal player who was almost terminated. VERY close actually. There was just nobody else there to replace him.

    I think it IS impressive how he, as a player, has stepped up this season though.

  9. whats funny to me is the media jumped all over this story like white on rice, yet on almost every video of players on the field or on the sidelines there has to be a bleep almost every other word to keep us from hearing…..well, you know what word, yet nobody ever say’s anything about that now do they?

    jocoby jones called mike tomlin the word riley got busted for saying while explaining his case to his teammates during his kickoff return and it had to be bleeped out, no media outlet or commentator even acknowledged it.

  10. While not condoning the behavior, I’ll care about Riley using N word when the NFL bans all races from using it. It’s inappropriate no matter what your skin color is.

  11. I have to say i was wrong about him. I was worried about another gimmick offense, but see the man is quite capable at adapting.

    As for the ugliest of racial slurs, let’s put that in persepective. yes, it is quite offensive. however, when the populace that it is directed at regularly uses it towards each other, uses it in their songs, movies etc:, the victim aspect rings a bit hollow.

    When did you ever hear a mentally challanged person calling another a retard, or native american a redskin or italian a wop or guinea.

  12. The truth of the matter is that if Jeremy Maclin had not sustained a season ending injury just prior to the Cooper incident, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Cooper would have been cut immediately and would already be a footnote in Eagles history, like so many other marginal backup journeymen who came before him. Only Maclin’s injury turned Cooper into a reclamation project for Kelly.

  13. steves11–predicts the future truth! But somehow doesn’t know that 14 isn’t a “journeyman.”

    speculate all you want…just don’t purport it as “truth.”

  14. I have got to say I was not a Kelly fan. But watching him swallow his pride and change direction with his offense when they couldn’t accomplish what he wanted with the speed, have me a lot of respect for him. He put the team first, not his ego. Then took this team to the playoffs!

  15. Chip has done a very good job with the Eagles, and took hold of a situation that could have spiraled out of control. And whether you like him or not, #7 has shown just how much he has grown, and matured in his handling of the situation too.

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