Kidding or stone-cold serious? You be the judge.
Chip Kelly seemingly took a subtle dig at his star running back Tuesday, calling LeSean McCoy’s practice work ethic merely “OK.” The answer came in a back-and-forth between Kelly and a reporter that started with a question about McCoy’s recent toe injury.
McCoy, the NFL’s reigning rushing champion, missed his first practice of Eagles camp Sunday. He returned to practice Monday and afterward said a painful condition similar to turf toe flared up last week in the joint practices against New England. McCoy said he had an MRI and X-ray on the toe and even discussed the potential to “shut it down” if the pain became unbearable.
“Any time I’m not capable of going out there and practicing and missing a day of work, it’s not something to be happy about,” McCoy said then. “Unless it’s a day off and the team has a day off. Missing a day of work can be frustrating.”
On Tuesday, asked if McCoy’s quick return to practice reflected the running back’s intense work ethic, Kelly hardly played into the questioner’s narrative. In fact, Kelly took the contrarian point of view.
“It’s OK,” Kelly responded. “Some days he’s great out there. Other days, he’s not so great.”
Did the head coach call out the star player for missing practice for a toe condition? Or is this reflective of the unique relationship between McCoy and Kelly? McCoy last week said Kelly pushes him more than any other person who’s coached him.
"Coach pushes me to the max more than any other coach I've been around," McCoy said last Wednesday in Foxborough, Mass. "Coach [Andy] Reid, he pushed me hard, but once I kind of got to a point, he let the veterans go a little bit. Chip is constantly on me."
In the locker room Tuesday, McCoy didn’t take questions about Kelly's comment.
Intentions were unclear from Kelly’s remark, but what’s certain is that Kelly -- who doesn’t talk extensively about injuries -- wasn’t caught up in the heavy press McCoy stirred up Monday by discussing his toe condition.
When a reporter asked Kelly about McCoy’s injury, the coach wise-cracked, “I don’t think he’ll ever play again.”
“No, he’s fine,” Kelly added. “He practiced full [Monday]. He’s fine. It’s not as big of an issue as I think anybody has made it out to be.”
Another reporter noted McCoy’s stated disappointment about missing Sunday’s practice and asked Kelly if McCoy is usually upset about sitting out of practice.
“No, I mean LeSean is a competitor,” he said. “He wants to be out there. It’s just one incident. There’s a lot of questions about a toe in August that I think is way overblown.”