Chip Kelly: Cooper slur could divide locker room

Eagles receiver Riley Cooper runs behind head coach Chip Kelly during a training camp practice on Thursday, August 1. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles receiver Riley Cooper runs behind head coach Chip Kelly during a training camp practice on Thursday, August 1. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 02, 2013

Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Riley Cooper's spot on the team was never in jeopardy and that the Eagles consulted with the NFL before levying a fine to Cooper. The team did not consult with players before determining the penalty, and Kelly acknowledged that there is concern that it could divide the locker room.

"I think it's going to take some time," Kelly said. "The guys that know Riley and are a little bit closer to him, it may be a little easier to them. But also some guys that just met him or just got here, and they're still trying to wrap their arms around it. I don't think this is a situation that's going to go away tomorrow. We certainly understand it."

Kelly had his position coaches discuss the incident with players in meetings. He said the team needs to set up meetings between Cooper and players who don't know him so they get to know Cooper better.

"We have to have some open communication to make sure that everybody understands what went on and that what Riley's doing to atone for that," Kelly said.

Kelly was at the Kenny Chesney concert in June at which Cooper screamed "a racial slur, although Kelly said he did not interact with Cooper that night.

In a video that appeared on Wednesday, Cooper appeared to get into an altercation, saying that he would "fight every n- here."

Cooper addressed the team before the walk-through on Wednesday night. After Cooper spoke, Kelly asked if anyone else wanted to speak. That's when Michael Vick and Jason Avant addressed the team.

Kelly said he was not allowed to divulge the amount of the fine. He noted that owner Jeffrey Lurie has been in touch with the league, which has been involved with the entire process.

"I know Riley made a heinous mistake. I was appalled by it. I was actually shocked by it," Kelly said. "Because since I've been here since April, that's not the Riley Cooper I know. But he accepted responsibility for it, and he's got to live with it. But I hope at some point in time, we get a chance to move on from it. Right now, I don't think it's something that's going to go away very quickly."


Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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