Eagles' Kelly, Lurie sending mixed messages, but does anyone care?
Coach Chip Kelly, owner Jeffrey Lurie seem to have different versions of what's been going on with the Eagles this offseason.
The question is, does anyone really care?
Does anyone care that Chip Kelly's version of how Howie Roseman lost his dream job is incongruous to the version Jeffrey Lurie put forth at the NFL owners' meetings this week? Or that the firing of Tom Gamble, which Lurie deemed "a long time coming," was something Kelly said he knew nothing of and had nothing to do with.
And if the answer is no, which it seems to be to many, then the next question seems to be this:
Is there a place - or need - for honesty in professional sports these days?
Or is it just "Win, baby, Win?''
I'm pretty certain I know what Chip's honest answer to that would be. Any reasonable person who has bothered to compare some of his answers on topics such as the ones above, or on the LeSean McCoy trade, with the ones offered by his owner is well aware Kelly has a little Col. Nathan Jessup in him when it comes to our right to the truth.
He has neither the time nor the inclination to explain himself to . . . well, you get the drift.
Kelly said dealing McCoy was strictly a money call. Lurie said it had as much to do with style.
"We had been talking about the asset value of LeSean for a long time, because he wasn't the style of runner that Chip prefers, but a great player," the Eagles owner said.
And yet the deal was done in about 30 minutes and Rex Ryan said he was surprised as hell when he got the call. And Shady said he was surprised - and hurt - he didn't a call.
Lurie also said this week his organization was not a soap opera, which can mean one of two things: Either he doesn't watch daytime television, or his standards for what constitutes a soap opera are higher than any network has ever achieved.
Because that's exactly what the last few months have been. The hiring of Gamble had been heralded. His firing was sudden, stunning and odd. When the season ended, Lurie said Roseman wasn't going anywhere.
And then, poof, he was gone.
Then, poof, no Shady.
Then, Frank Gore is coming!
Then, no, he's not.
You want to speculate why Gore did an about-face, my money's on a phone call to Gamble.
And if that ain't a soap opera . . .
Well, to paraphrase Bill Murray's character in "Tootsie" - "That is one nutty hospital!"
The producer/director, of course, is our beloved head coach, whose continued bemusement amid the frantic and often futile pursuit of truth has, if nasty comments at the end of our stories carry any weight, solidified an army of tweet-twitching followers. That prankster's smile of his, that rapid-fire verbiage that ultimately offers about as much sustenance as a rice cake - it's wonderfully entertaining.
Especially when the media are on the other end of the prank.
I get that. My dad hated the media, too, even after I joined it.
OK, especially after I joined it.
We're the bad guys, the messengers, eating all that free food, being lazy all the time, not following the lessons of Journalism 101, a course that clearly about 1 billion people have taken. And Kelly, whose close circle of friends back in New Hampshire included members of the Fourth Estate, certainly knows this. He also knows that, as long as he can sell it as him against them, the public will allow him all the obfuscating his little heart desires.
As long as he Wins, baby, Wins.
The media can say forever he should be more accessible, and cooperative, because we are a conduit between him and the public. I've been in this business for 34 years and over that time, the public's response will always be the same:
Work harder, and . . .
Leave him alone.
It's almost schizophrenic, what happens in these taffy pulls. The media are criticized for being soft one second, then badgering the witness the next. Is it old news to talk or write about what's happened over the last few months?
Not if they can't get their story straight, it isn't.
Those who have speculated that anything Kelly does is racially motivated are just flat-out nutty. But it is clear by now, as it was at this juncture of Andy Reid's tenure here, that Kelly isn't just providing a great sound bite when he talks about "culture" over talent. Anyone who listened between the lines early last season when Kelly answered dismissively about McCoy's work ethic and toe issues had to at least wonder whether the relationship between player and coach wasn't quite Kumbaya material.
There was no doubt about that when he cut DeSean Jackson early in 2014, after a recordsetting season. Except, of course, about the veracity of the coach's answers. Jackson was the antithesis of that culture, was not a Chip Kelly guy.
In retrospect, Roseman should have seen that as a sign of things to come.
And, like Pvt. William Santiago, tried then to transfer off the base.
Instead he remained, pushed upstairs into the NovaCare equivalent of the Tower of London. Maybe he will even be rescued and returned to power someday, should the despot in charge falter and his followers desert him.
Until that happens, though, the kingdom is Kelly's to rule as he wishes. To manipulate us, the owner - the truth - in any way he sees fit.
On Twitter: @samdonnellon