A day after he said didn't feel the need to address his players about rumors that he could be leaving the Eagles, Chip Kelly spent part of Tuesday's morning meeting reassuring the team that he didn't have any plans to leave.
"He said, 'As long as they have me here, I'm here,'" running back Kenjon Barner said.
Kelly has been mentioned as a possible candidate for various college coaching jobs as long as he's been with the Eagles, but there was a NFL Network report on Sunday that Southern Cal had reached out to him and a Footballscoop.com report that Trojans representatives had met with him in Philadelphia on Friday.
Kelly said on Monday that he had made no contact with Southern Cal, or any other college program, since he's been here. Still, the rumors will likely persist -- particularly in light of the Eagles' disappointing season -- and some players were unsure of his intentions.
Veteran tackle Jason Peters was asked if he needed to hear Kelly directly deny the reports.
"To a certain extent," Peters said. "Probably [more] for some of the other guys. I don't read into the media or listen to the radio. There was speculation that he might leave. It was good to hear it from him that he said he was with us for the long haul."
Running back Kenjon Barner, who played for Kelly at Oregon, said that some of the younger Eagles needed to hear that he was staying. Kelly is in the third year of a five-year contract. Owner Jeffrey Lurie isn't likely to comment on his team and his coach until after the season.
"I think giving the younger players some confidence and some reassurance is good," Barner said. "I'm sure there were some young players [that were wondering about Kelly leaving]. It's only human nature. You hear certain things, of course, you're going to question certain things. Chip did kind of put that all to rest today during the meeting just by reassuring everybody."
The Eagles have lost three games in the row -- the last two by margins 28 points or greater. There have been questions about effort. Safety Malcolm Jenkins recently questioned the Eagles' methods when it came to holding individuals accountable for their performances.
Did Kelly address his future in the hope that it would soothe players that may not be playing up to their capabilities?
"I think it was more he was just letting it all out," offensive lineman Dennis Kelly said. "He was making sure that everybody knew he's here. If that's to make guys play better or if that's to make guys feel better, I'm not 100 percent sure what the actual motive is. But I think it was just him laying it all out on the table, saying, 'This is my hand, this is what I'm sticking with, I'm here for you guys.'"
Kelly, on Monday, lamented about always being mentioned for prominent college jobs. He has never once given any public indication that he wants to leave the Eagles. He said he was in New Hampshire on Friday, rather than in Philly as one report stated.
But did he feel it was necessary to quell any concerns the players may have about his future?
"No, I really don't," Kelly said. "Because there are so many things that are written and said nowadays that it's ridiculous. A lot of times we just chuckle and laugh, to be honest with you."
Peters said he plays with 100 percent effort no matter who is in charge.
"If he's here, he's here, if he's not, I'm going to play no matter who the coach is," Peters said. "Mr. Lurie brought me here. I'm a die hard Eagles player and I'm going to go out there and give all I got every week for him."