Two years have passed since Chip Kelly made the decision to keep Riley Cooper after a video showed the Eagles receiver shouting a racial slur at a concert, but the incident is still raised whenever the topic of Kelly and race is discussed.

It's still a topic two years later because two former members of the organization - running back LeSean McCoy and former coaching assistant Tra Thomas - made references to race as an issue in the Eagles locker room this offseason. Then cornerback Brandon Boykin told Comcast SportsNet after his trade on Saturday that Kelly "is uncomfortable around grown men of our culture."

Kelly said Tuesday that the backlash he receives regarding race and his roster decisions "could be" connected to keeping Cooper, but he does not regret standing by the player.

"I think Riley made a mistake," Kelly said. "I look at that as a specific incident and he was 100 percent wrong. Those are things that should never be said, and I hope he learned his lesson. I think he regrets what he did that day, every single day. I see that. But do I regret what I did in terms of how we handled Riley? No, we don't."

Kelly added that Cooper was backed by the organization in 2013, including veteran leaders Michael Vick and Jason Avant. Cooper declined to speak about the topic after practice on Tuesday.

The coach's relationship with his players might seem like a subplot to what is happening on the field, but it is one that has not gone away. Each issue is different, just as each transaction is different. The decision to keep Cooper in 2013 and the decision to trade Boykin last week were not related, but whenever the locker room culture is discussed, the Cooper decision seems to be part of the subtext.

"I don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to connect X to Y to Z and all those other things," Kelly said. "We have other things that we need to take care of."

In a later conversation with reporters at Steelers training camp, Boykin said Kelly is not a racist and focused his criticism more on the coach's relationship with players.

Kelly said Tuesday that the Eagles have an "open-door policy" and that any player can speak to him. He even had a long talk with Boykin during the spring, he said. But Kelly said his schedule - and a player's schedule - can be busy.

"We also have a pretty structured day where guys are in meetings," Kelly said. "I don't just sit and walk around and say, 'Hey, let me go grab him and let's sit down and let's have a coffee together.' "

During the offseason, that time is especially limited. With four hours a day to spend with the players, Kelly does not want to waste any minute.

"There's not a time where we are all sitting around holding hands singing 'Kumbaya' together," Kelly said. "We're in meetings rooms getting stuff done. They are in the weight room getting stuff done and they are on the training field getting stuff done and then they are out of there."

Kelly said that position coaches can become closer to the players and that he actually misses being a position coach because of that bond with players.

With different personalities, the level of communication is different for each player. Kelly pointed out the relationship with two former Oregon players on the roster: Kiko Alonso and Kenjon Barner. Alonso is quiet and Barner is outgoing.

"I could sit with Kiko for three or four hours and we may not say a word to each other," Kelly said. "I had longer conversations with Kenjon, but that's because that's what Kenjon was like. Kiko doesn't really talk to people, but that's what their personalities are all about."

Kelly said he doesn't see any issue with the way he treats players.

"I think I treat everybody how we should be treated," Kelly said. "We respect everybody."

zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm