Eagles Notes: Kelly lays blame for suspensions on players

Running back LeSean MCoy obliges a fan, Michelle Steward of Haddon Township, by posing for a photo during a break in the first day of training camp.
Running back LeSean MCoy obliges a fan, Michelle Steward of Haddon Township, by posing for a photo during a break in the first day of training camp. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff)
Posted: July 28, 2014

The Eagles' two PED suspensions this offseason are twice the number the team had during the Andy Reid era.

Coach Chip Kelly said Saturday that the issue is not a lack of organizational oversight but rather the irresponsibility of tackle Lane Johnson and linebacker Jake Knott.

"I think we educate our players all the time. I think everyone in the NFL knows you're going to get tested," Kelly said. "There's also some individual responsibility that goes with the player. If the answer is, 'I didn't know,' they know. . . .

"But they're also their own men. It's no different than if you got pulled over for DUI. Are you going to turn around and tell your employers: 'You didn't tell me I couldn't do that'? . . . They're both adults, they both made mistakes, they're going to pay a hefty price for those mistakes."

Johnson said he took a prescription drug. Knott said he took a nutritional supplement that was a stimulant. Both are second-year players.

"We educate our guys on a daily basis," Kelly said. "We don't wait for someone to make a mistake and say, 'Hey, look at this.' We try to look at other teams. . . . There's signs all over our building about what you can't take, what you can take. There's a protocol for what you're supposed to do. If there's ever a question, you are responsible for what you put in your body. If you're not sure, then you should ask."

All at once

The Eagles had two days of rookie practice last season before all the players arrived. Kelly decided to have the whole team report at once this season. The impetus for the early rookie arrivals last year was quarterback Matt Barkley, and Kelly realized during rookie camp this year that practice was not efficient enough.

"We also want to make sure there's a certain tempo and pace if you've seen us practice and go," Kelly said. "It wasn't as productive as we thought it was going to be. We just wanted to hit the ground running with our guys today."

All 89 players at camp passed the conditioning test.

Partial tackling

Don't expect the Eagles to tackle to the ground during 11-on-11 drills during camp. Similar to last season, there will be tackling drills - but not full tackles.

"We're going to stick with that," Kelly said. "We have four preseason games where we're allowed to tackle to the ground."

Extra points

Kelly said he was in communication with guard Evan Mathis before camp and was not worried that Mathis would hold out. "He's here, and we're ready to go," Kelly said. Citing team policy, general manager Howie Roseman declined to discuss Mathis' contract negotiations. . . . Kelly said he excused safety Keelan Johnson after Johnson's recent arrest because that "issue" is "a little bit more important than being at the first day of camp." Johnson was arrested July 19 in Tempe, Ariz., on suspicion of pushing a police officer after a bar brawl.

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