In his first comments to the media since news broke of running back DeMarco Murray complaining to owner Jeffrey Lurie about the Eagles offense, coach Chip Kelly didn’t deny it. Instead, he downplayed it.
“He didn’t have a meeting with [Lurie],” Kelly said during a conference call with reporters who cover the Bills, via Albert Breer of NFL Network. “He just happened to be sitting next to him on the plane. It wasn’t orchestrated.”
Orchestrated or not, Murray broke protocol in a major way. And any coach should be concerned about that, regardless of how it happened.
Kelly’s position isn’t surprising, given his general approach to refrain from anger or other open displays of accountability. But unless the owner is going to not fly on the team plane and otherwise stay away from the players, there will be other opportunities for chance meetings, during which players will have the ability to undermine the head coach by bending the owner’s ear.
The head coach needs to make sure the players understand that, if they have a problem, they need to come to the head coach, not to the owner. If players believe that: (1) the owner option is available; and (2) it possibly could get results, more of them will give it a try. And that’s not good for anybody.