Former Eagles Coach ‘Galvanized’ 49ers over Colin Kaepernick

Chip Kelly Salary

Getty Head coach of the UCLA Bruins Chip Kelly reacts after a Fresno State Bulldogs touchdown to trail 31-14 during the third quarter at Rose Bowl on September 15, 2018 in Pasadena, California.

A former 49ers player actually had something nice to say about Chip Kelly. Go figure.

Kelly, who flamed out in the NFL after four seasons, was reportedly a stabilizing force in the 49ers locker room during the halcyon days of Colin Kapernick’s fight against social injustice. According to TMZ Sports, Kelly allowed Kaepernick to take center stage and address the team about what he was protesting in 2016. The coach let his players make their own informed decisions about whether to kneel or not.

“I love Chip for it,” former 49ers receiver Jeremy Kerley told TMZ Sports. “For Chip being able to do that, I think that was pretty cool for him to kind of take the elephant out the room and remove all doubt. It kind of removed all doubts and stuff in the locker room and we just bonded, like we were close and it was fun.”

Kelly took the league by storm in 2013 when he led the Eagles to a 10-6 record and first place in the NFC East. Following a wild-card playoff loss to New Orleans, the team regressed in 2014 and missed the postseason, then Kelly’s unconventional methods came under fire.

He won a front-office power struggle with Howie Roseman and took full control of personnel decisions, a disastrous move that led to the Eagles releasing DeSean Jackson and trading LeSean McCoy for pennies on the dollar. Kelly was fired in 2015 after compiling a 26-21 record in four years. He has been widely vilified by the Eagles’ passionate fan base.

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Chip Kelly & Riley Cooper Trending on Twitter

Kelly’s name was trending on Twitter on Tuesday morning in regard to his handling of a racial incident from 2013 involving Riley Cooper. The former Eagles receiver was caught on tape using a racial slur and kept his roster spot. In Kelly’s defense, the black leadership on the team met with Cooper and aired out their grievances. Still, it has long been hailed as a failure by the organization.

Following the bizarre case of DeSean Jackson and his sharing of anti-Semitic comments, the Cooper incident was being brought up as a parallel to how the Eagles might deal with this newest PR nightmare. Some want Jackson released from the Eagles immediately, while others are accepting his apology and waiting for an official comment from the organization. Cooper wasn’t cut and eventually signed a five-year, $22.5 million extension in 2014.

“I think that Riley made a mistake,” Kelly said in 2015. “That’s part of it. We all backed him. Michael [Vick] backed him. Jason Avant backed him. I think that’s part of being in an organization and on a team. I look at that as a specific incident where he was 100-percent wrong. Those are things that should never be said.

The move forever tarnished Kelly’s legacy, with some former Eagles players citing racist tendencies. The coach went on to spend one season in San Francisco before moving on to his current job at UCLA. For the record, Kelly has also been accused of treating black players unfairly there.

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