Kelly downplays DeSean's sideline spat


Kelly downplays DeSean's sideline spat

The sideline incident Sunday between DeSean Jackson and his position coach looked tense on TV (see story), but Chip Kelly said Monday it’s not a polarizing issue for the team.

Kelly downplayed the tirade that occurred after Nick Foles had thrown a third-quarter interception to Shaun Prater on a pass intended for Jackson. After the play, cameras caught wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell yelling something at Jackson and the irate receiver needed to be restrained by teammates.

Kelly said he spoke with Bicknell and would talk to his Pro Bowl wide receiver Tuesday, when players come back to the NovaCare Complex after their day off.

“Yeah, we handle all those things,” Kelly said. “I talked to Bobby. I’ll talk to DeSean, and we'll get things straightened out. It's not as big a deal as I think everybody wants to make it out to be.”

Asked if he was concerned about Jackson’s reaction, Kelly just said his receiver was venting some frustration.

“We threw an interception and [teammates were] just trying to calm him down and get on to the next play,” Kelly said.

Kelly didn’t get into details about the argument, but it’s a safe assumption that Bicknell either wasn’t happy about Jackson’s effort to try and break up the interception or the wideout’s pursuit of Prater on the 30-yard return.

Kelly suggested that Jackson didn’t see the ball get picked off as the receiver’s momentum carried him toward the end zone.

“We're running a tiered route over there with Riley [Cooper] going over the top. And DeSean running up and out over there. Didn't anticipate that was going to happen,” Kelly said. "[Nick] tried to get the ball in there earlier, but we're not trying to throw it that way. Usually it's a clean throw, or when you turn your head and you're wide open, you're not looking ... I'm not looking at you as a defensive back, I'm looking back at the ball.”

It’s hard to question Jackson’s effort. He had 195 receiving yards, the second-highest total of his career, on a career-best 10 catches. He also set a career high for receiving yards in a season with 1,275, and trails only Mike Quick (1,409 yards in 1983) and Irving Fryar (1,316 in 1997) for the franchise record.

In the fourth, Jackson turned a routine short catch on the left side into a 51-yard gain with a series of jukes and stutters that made three Vikings miss. He also had a rushing touchdown negated by an illegal block from Foles.

But Jackson has often let his emotions get the best of him in games. It’s not uncommon for him to get into shoving matches or verbal spars with opposing defensive backs.

Kelly said his players still have to learn how to keep their poise during adversity.

“That's part of what being a competitor is, that you have to learn how to play with emotion but not let emotion play with you,” he said. “No matter what goes on, we still have to keep our poise out there. We have to be able to play the next snap. If we do have a bad play, we need to move on to the next play.

“We can't let the last play affect us on the next play. That's a lesson for all of us to learn. Just like we can't let the Vikings game affect the Bears game. That's easier said than done for all of us. And that is kind of what we talk about all the time. But you still have to live it.”

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

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Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

This is starting to become a trend. One Temple hopes to continue to prove wrong.

For the third straight year, Temple was chosen to finish sixth in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll. The poll, which was released on Monday, is voted on by the conference's head coaches.

Also selected to finish sixth last season, the Owls posted a 21-12 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the AAC to reach the NCAA Tournament. In 2014-15, TU tied for third in the AAC with a 13-5 record and was one of the last teams left out of the Big Dance.

Cincinnati was tabbed to win the American title in the poll, just ahead of UConn.

Temple, who returns three starters from last season's team, opens the 2016-17 campaign against city rival La Salle at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 11.