Sam Bradford said Saturday that he wants to remain with the Eagles, and Chip Kelly was not surprised. It was the first time Bradford had been emphatic in public about his desire to stay with the team. Bradford becomes a free agent after the season.
"He's always seemed comfortable being here," Kelly said Monday. "It may be news to you guys but not news to us."
Bradford said returning to the Eagles is "not my choice," indicating that it's up to the team signing him to a new contract. Kelly has said repeatedly that he wants Bradford back, but there have not been contract discussions during the season.
"I know where Sam stood the whole season and I know we are on the same page in terms of where we are," Kelly said. "It's just we don't negotiate during the season with anybody. So that wasn't . . . 'Hey, we don't want Sam back.' That's just the way it is. A player shouldn't be worried about a contract while the season is going on and that will be something we will adjust after the season."
The Eagles negotiated contract extensions with players during the season before Kelly arrived. Other teams do it, too - Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree, Browns tight end Gary Barnidge, Packers defensive end Mike Daniels, and Chiefs offensive lineman Jah Reid all signed extensions this month alone. Kelly said the Eagles do not do that.
"It's just the organization's [philosophy] and I agree with it," Kelly said. "I don't think any player should be worrying about [a contract]. They shouldn't be going out on Sunday worrying about [it]. That's not what it's all about. I think most teams that you look at in the NFL are not negotiating with guys in-season. There's a beginning of the season and an end of the season. A lot of times . . . hey, once we get to this point, we are not going to negotiate anymore. The player understands that, the agent understands that, we understand that."
Kelly defended left tackle Jason Peters, who left the loss to Washington in the fourth quarter Saturday. Two reports suggested that Peters took himself out of the game. Kelly would not confirm that, but he said Peters has been playing through injuries all season.
"I don't think people realize what he has gone through to get out on the field," Kelly said. ". . . I think everybody at this point in time is banged up and everybody understands themselves. But we are certainly not going to tell a player that 'no, you're not hurt and you have to go back in the game.' I've never done that, never will do that. That's not how we're operating. In terms of Jason as a person, he has played through a lot since I've been here in my three years here and I will never question his toughness."