Steelers CB Brandon Boykin joined the club of disgrunted former Eagles players, asserting yesterday in a text message to Comcast SportsNet's Derrick Gunn that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is "uncomfortable around grown men of our culture." Boykin added, "He can't relate and that makes him uncomfortable. He likes total control of everything, and he don't like to be uncomfortable. Players excel when you let them naturally be who they are, and in my experience that hasn't been important to him, but you guys have heard this before me."
The same head coach who signed Tim Tebow, a quarterback of minimal talent and lackluster performances during his time in the NFL, was surprised to hear about Boykin's insinuations. Kelly said via Pro Football Talk, "When he left here last night he shook my hand and gave me a hug, didn't say anything. I like Brandon. I don't know. I really don't know."
Boykin is not the only player to complain about Chip Kelly, who was the head coach with the Oregon Ducks before joining the Eagles in January 2013. In 2015, it was announced Kelly would take the helm of the player personnel department, a role that has given him even more control over the team and Eagles athletes.
In June of this year, current Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy was more blunt than his former teammate in leveling accusations against his former head coach, saying to ESPN, "He wants full control. You see how fast he got rid of all the good players. Especially all the good black players. He got rid of them the fastest."
Boykin and McCoy both brought up an important theme of Chip Kelly that has nothing to do with race. Boykin said his former coach "likes total control of everything," while McCoy agreed in June when he talked about Kelly's desire for "full control."
If power and control are indeed that important to Chip Kelly, how would he react to Boykin complaining about not starting and expressing his desire to want to play outside, not just in the slot? My guess is that Kelly would react poorly. Though Chip Kelly allegedly told Boykin he could compete for the outside spot, in June, Boykin seemed dejected and far from optimistic. When asked if he thought his role would change, Boykin said, "Probably the same. Just keeping it a hundred."
A conditional fifth round pick for one of the better CB's in the league is not a great deal for the Eagles, which leads me to wonder what was going on interpersonally between the player and his coach. Even before the Steelers scored Brandon "Bargain" Boykin, Bleeding Green Nation wrote, "The coaching staff's handling of the Boykin situation is one of the more puzzling storylines of the Chip Kelly era."
Yesterday, the saga became much more puzzling for the Eagles as Kelly sent Boykin to the Steelers, even after losing CB Cary Williams to the Seahawks and Bradley Fletcher to the Patriots. What is confusing for the Eagles, provides clarity for the Steelers who have struggled on the defensive side of the ball. With an improved pass-rush and Boykin on board, the Steelers secondary should be less of a weak point in 2015.