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LeSean McCoy says Chip Kelly doesn't respect stars

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - LeSean McCoy still hasn't spoken to Chip Kelly. The running back said his former coach called him twice, but he didn't answer. So he has yet to hear Kelly's reason for trading him to the Buffalo Bills last month.

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)Read more

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - LeSean McCoy still hasn't spoken to Chip Kelly. The running back said his former coach called him twice, but he didn't answer. So he has yet to hear Kelly's reason for trading him to the Buffalo Bills last month.

McCoy said he heard Kelly say to reporters that money was the primary factor. He said he heard Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie say that Kelly thought his shifty running style wasn't ideally suited to his offense.

He has another theory.

"I don't think he likes or respects the stars. I'm being honest," McCoy told The Inquirer on Monday. "I think he likes the fact that it's 'Chip Kelly and the Eagles.' "

This offseason alone, Kelly traded McCoy and quarterback Nick Foles and watched wide receiver Jeremy Maclin leave via free agency. Longtime Eagles Todd Herremans and Trent Cole were released. A year ago, the Eagles cut receiver DeSean Jackson.

"It was 'DeSean Jackson - a high-flying, take-off-the-top-of-the-defense receiver.' Or 'the quick, elusive LeSean McCoy,' " McCoy said. "I don't think [Kelly] likes that."

McCoy has been a Bill for only 27 days and it's clear that he already has star status among his teammates. Monday marked his first official workout for new coach Rex Ryan. After practice he couldn't walk a step or complete an interview without being interrupted by players or team personnel looking to have a moment with the outgoing 26-year-old.

This was his first opportunity to talk with someone from the Philadelphia media since the trade. He bolted past Philly reporters two weeks ago when he made an appearance at Todd Herremans' charity event. He said he didn't want to rehash the past.

McCoy said that he has no animosity toward Kelly and that he intends to call his former coach soon. He understands the NFL is a business, but he said he felt disrespected with how the trade went down without his prior knowledge.

Like most observers, McCoy noticed the difference between Lurie's comments made two weeks ago at the NFL meeting and Kelly's when explaining the trade.

The owner said Kelly preferred north-to-south tailbacks like DeMarco Murray, whom the Eagles eventually signed. Kelly has focused on McCoy's $12 million salary-cap number even though the Eagles gave Murray a five-year, $40 million contract.

"I read what he said in the media and I agree with it," McCoy said of Lurie's comments. "There's nothing wrong with that. Chip felt like I wasn't a fit for his offense. But why not say that?

"It's hard to say that because if you turn on that tape when that [offense] isn't going I make that [stuff] happen. You see, he can't say that. But I think that's how he felt."

McCoy set a franchise record with 1,607 rushing yards in 2013, Kelly's first with the Eagles. He averaged 5.1 yards a carry, caught 52 passes for 529 yards and tallied 11 total touchdowns. But his numbers last season - 1,319 rushing yards, a 4.2 average, 28 catches for 155 yards and only five total scores - dipped.

Injuries on the offensive line and to Nick Foles and the departure of Jackson were some of the reasons given for McCoy's struggles. He increasingly lost yards and some wondered if his jittery running style frustrated Kelly. He also looked a step slower at times.

McCoy, who turns 27 in July, said he is still in the prime of his career. He didn't miss a game during his two seasons with Kelly and the only time he missed a prolonged stretch was when he suffered a concussion in 2012 in Andy Reid's final season with the Eagles.

"I was so big on trying to improve myself," said McCoy, who left the Eagles as their all-time leading rusher with 6,792 yards. "Now you put my numbers up. You put my [numbers] up and you'll see it. It tells you it. In any system - Andy or Chip. So I'm not going to go there, back and forth with that. I just feel like the only thing I didn't like was the respect.

"For so many years I gave you all what you wanted. You know? And then for how it went down, it was like a surprise. I'm thinking, 'Does everybody look at it how I look at it?' "

The Eagles were shopping McCoy a week before free agency opened. When they called the Bills it took only 30 minutes to pull off the swap for linebacker Kiko Alonso, Ryan has said. It wasn't finalized, however, and when it was reported not long after, McCoy said he found out from his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, while training in Miami.

"He called up and he said, 'Hey, it's not a joke. Eagles are trying to trade you to the Bills,' " McCoy said. "I'm like, 'What?' "

McCoy had expected the Eagles to restructure his contract, but he said they never approached Rosenhaus. Some Eagles have since said they weren't shocked by the trade. Bills receiver Percy Harvin, who has been traded twice, said Monday that traded players are often left wondering "what is it underneath it all?"

McCoy has leaned on Bryce Brown, a former teammate who was traded to the Bills last May, to show him around. He said he still sometimes catches himself talking about himself as if he were still an Eagle. He said he never took his clothes home from his NovaCare Complex locker stall because he never expected to leave. For the first time in his NFL career, he's the new guy.

The Bills made him feel at home by reworking his contract and giving him a five-year, $40 million deal.

"Money wasn't the first reason to make me want to come here," McCoy said. "Even when I knew [about the contract offer], I was like, 'I'm not going there. I don't give a freak what they give me, I'm not going.' And then I realized it was the best for me. This is a team that wants me. Coach Ryan is a winner and he wants to run the ball."

Ryan has a reputation for being a players' coach and as someone who gives his stars and veterans a little leeway. McCoy looked at the current Eagles offense without stars like Jackson, Maclin and him.

"Now you've got DeMarco. I think he's a good player," McCoy said. "But then you've got [quarterback Sam] Bradford. He's in and out, banged up. The main wide receiver is [Riley] Cooper. The tight end is [Brent] Celek. . . . [Kelly] likes it like that. The tension - the this or that - he doesn't like that. He don't like the way you dress.

"He's not the bad dude everybody makes him out to be. He's just different. But I don't really have any hate for him. I really don't. In the beginning I did, but I don't. If I see him I'll speak to him, respectfully - 'How are you doing, coach? Good luck.' "