One day last March, the Eagles all-time leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, went to sleep confidently knowinghe was returning to play for the only NFL team he’s ever known.
The next morning, he woke up and was a Buffalo Bill.
There was no one involved in last offseason’s swap of McCoy for linebacker Kiko Alonso, save for perhaps Chip Kelly and Rex Ryan themselves, who was not shocked by the trade.
It left an utterly bitter taste in McCoy’s mouth — one that still lingers months later.
Finally, Chip Kelly is showing some remorse. Not for the trade itself, but for how things went down.
“How he was traded, it wasn’t handled right,” Kelly said.”It’s a lesson [of what] we should never do, to be honest with you.”
Kelly said the trade did not go the way most do, where he has the chance to inform the players involved over the phone before the story breaks in the media. He told reporters Thursday that he went to bed the night of the trade expecting it to be finalized in the morning. By then, the story had broken.
“We have a way that we do it that I think is the right way to do it, and it wasn’t exercised in that case,” Kelly said. “I understand why he was bothered. He was an all-time leading running back here, thought he was disrespected and was wronged. Because I was part of it, that’s on me.
“I would apologize for that. It didn’t happen the right way.”
The traded opened up the cap space to sign DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, while also bringing a stud linebacker in Alonso.
“From a business standpoint I get it,” Malcolm Jenkins said, explaining he too was shocked when he first heard about the trade.”If you look at the money issues, and all the space it created, it makes sense.”
”I think we did the right thing at the time,” Kelly said. “We traded an outstanding running back for a linebacker, but we also traded $700,000 for $11.9 million.”
The questions for Kelly came a few days after McCoy told reporters up in Buffalo he had no intention of shaking his former coaches hand before or after Sunday’s 1 p.m. game.
“I understand where he’s coming from,” Kelly said. “If he doesn’t want to shake my hand, I understand that. But I’ll always shake his hand. If he extends his hand, I’ll always shake his hand. I have great respect for him as a player.