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Chip Kelly On Riley Cooper, Team

Posted Aug 1, 2013

Following Thursday's practice in the indoor practice bubble at the NovaCare Complex, head coach Chip Kelly spoke to reporters about the incident involving wide receiver Riley Cooper. Here is the transcript …

Kelly: "I know you guys are going to ask questions and obviously Riley came to my office yesterday afternoon to discuss an incident that happened in June. First and foremost, he was thoroughly disgusted with himself. He apologized to me. He accepted full responsibility for what he did. He asked me if he could speak to the team and I told him we would get that taken care of when we got to the walkthrough. He then met with (general manager Howie Roseman) and (Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie) and then after that myself with Mr. Lurie, and Howie had a meeting. We believed because of the magnitude of the situation that we had to have a swift decision in terms of what was going to happen to Riley. We consulted with the league in the matter. We brought Riley back, we disciplined him. He accepted the discipline. He understands exactly what he did wrong and we also agreed with Riley that he needs some assistance and we're going to help him with that. We'll provide him the resources to meet with certain people that he needs to talk to about the situation to try to understand why it happened and to make sure it never happens again."

Do you think the team has moved past the situation?

Kelly: "I think Jason Avant said it the best yesterday, this isn't a situation that you brush underneath the rug. I think it's going to take some time. I think the guys that know Riley and are a little bit closer to him, I think it may be a little bit easier for them. But there are also some guys who have just met him and just got here and they're still trying to wrap their arms around it. This isn't a situation that's going to go away tomorrow and we certainly understand that."

Was his roster spot ever in jeopardy?

Kelly: "No."

How do you monitor whether it's still a problem?

Kelly: "We talked about it as a staff too and I encouraged our position coaches to have discussions in their meetings. I think in situations like this, X's and O's are really out the window. I think it's an important situation to address and we're not going to stick our head in the sands and say, 'Hey, we have to get ready because we have the Patriots coming in here next week.' I think we encourage dialogue in our position groups and I think if there are issues and players still have issues in position meetings, we need to set up meetings with Riley and those guys so they get to know Riley better. I know Riley made a heinous mistake. I was appalled by it. I was actually shocked by it because since I've been here since April, that's not the Riley Cooper I know. He accepted responsibility for it and he has to live with it, but I hope at some point in time we'll have a chance to move on from it, but right now I don't think it's going to be something that's going to go away very quickly."

You were there that day, did you see him?

Kelly: "I saw Riley walking in with the rest of the guys and then I was in Mr. Lurie's box for the entire time and then went down real quick to get introduced and there were a bunch of guys there, we walked out on stage, everybody walked out on stage, so I didn't really interact with him."

What kind of help are you getting him?

Kelly: "We'll provide him with the resources and the assistance and then I think they'll make a decision on what's the best course of action so I can't be specific with you right now."

Did you consult with other players before the punishment?

Kelly: "Before coming up with it? No. Myself, Mr. Lurie and Howie felt like the situation, we understood it and Riley understood it. There was no push back from Riley. I think he accepted full responsibility of it and I don't think any of our players said, 'Hey, I wish we were consulted before.' I think that the gravity of the situation dictated that we had to move pretty swiftly."

What does it say that the team has moved past it?

Kelly: "If you listened to me earlier, I didn't say that they did move past it. It's still a process that's going on. I think some players that know him better than other players, I think maybe they've moved quicker. Again, this isn't a situation that you put underneath the rug and say, 'It happened, let's move on. We have to get ready for Thursday's practice.' That certainly isn't the mood or the feeling around this building.

Is there concern about division in the locker room??

Kelly: "There could be a concern with that, yeah there is a concern with that. Not that there could be, but obviously it's a very hot topic and that's why I encourage our group and our team, we talked about it last night at the team meeting, we have to have some open communication to make sure that everybody understands what went on and then what Riley's doing to atone for that."

Will there be punishment beyond the fine?

Kelly: "Right now, I don't see it going beyond that, no."

Do you have anything in your coaching history to draw on to manage this?

Kelly: "We've all had incidents, I think, if you've been coaching as long as I have."

Did Mike Vick ask you to address the team?

Kelly: "Riley asked me if he could address the team and then I felt it was really important after Riley addressed the team that we weren't done. I wasn't going to blow the whistle and start practice. I left it out open, 'Does anybody else have anything to say?' Michael stepped up and said some words from the heart. Jason Avant stepped up and said some words. I think because of the situation, it was important that we started a dialogue at that point in time.

What sense have you gotten from the players who don't know Riley well?

Kelly: "I think the same that that everybody had, initially you're just kind of shocked. It was just surprising and you're just trying to figure the whole thing out because it kind of caught everybody off guard."

Are you pleased the NFL is letting the team handle this in-house?

Kelly: "I wouldn't say I'm pleased with anything that went on. I know that Jeffrey (Lurie) consulted with the league and they knew exactly what we were doing every step of the way. We believe what will go on from this day is appropriate for him."

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