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Head Coach Chip Kelly

Posted Aug 2, 2013

Chip, with Riley being excused, I guess, will he definitely be back on the team after this?

Kelly: Yeah, there's never been any question of cutting Riley. We talked on day one when we met with Riley, Jeffrey [Lurie] and myself, Riley was in full agreement that he needed to get some assistance in this situation. Took us about 24 to 36 hours to kind of put a plan in place. It was really important, I thought, for Riley to be with us yesterday. Just didn't want him sitting at home so, he was here with the team, and when we finally got plans in place, I met with him again this morning. He'll be gone. I don't have an exact timetable. That will get figured out, but his status with us is not in question.

So is your decision for him to go through this to happen now or is it his decision?

Kelly: It's all of us. It was a group decision. We discussed it with him, and he understands the, I guess, the weight of the situation, and the magnitude of the situation. It's not something that you put aside. As I said yesterday, this isn't a football deal; this is a life deal, so let's make sure we can assist Riley in any manner that we can and go from there.

Have you set the timetable at this stretch of the season?

Kelly: I haven't even -- one of the things, whenever I've been in any situation where it comes to this is I rely on the people that are experts, so we'll go see who it is.  I think it's very presumptuous to speculate on how long it's going to be. So I leave it up to those people, so...

So, if he's cut --

Kelly: It's August 2nd, so you're way ahead of yourself right now in terms of that.  I don't mean to cut you off.  It's just we're way ahead of ourselves in terms of roster spots.  Again, there hasn't been one question about a roster spot.  This isn't a roster spot issue for us right now.

When you said yesterday bringing possibly other players in before you guys made a decision. You said you guys need to act swiftly?

Kelly: No, I'm confused with your question. I don't know what the question is about bringing other players in. There's been no question about bringing in other players.

No, your initial decision being made, someone asked you about whether talking to other players you said we need to act swiftly?

Kelly: I thought you meant about bringing other players in.

My question is why did you think it was necessary to act swiftly?

Kelly: I think we understand the magnitude of the situation. Riley took full ownership of what he did. It wasn't a question of what happened and what didn't happen. I think Riley was very up front and very honest and embarrassed by the situation and gave us full disclosure of what happened. I don't think it was a situation where we were going to consult with anybody.

Couldn't you have said maybe we'll take our time because it is such an important decision?

Kelly: It's not a football decision though.

It's not a football decision?

Kelly: This isn't a football decision.

Has anyone come to you and said we can't really play with this guy on the team?

Kelly: No, no one said that. We talked as a team on the first night, and I know Mike [Vick] spoke, and Jason Avant spoke, and we've had another team meeting and couple of guys spoke in that meeting. I know our coaches have talked in their position meeting, so no one has expressed that to us.

LeSean McCoy was saying yesterday he forgives him, but he's still kind of angry?

Kelly: I would think that's a natural reaction. But no one has expressed to us that they can't play with him.

You said yesterday that you might be concerned about a division in the locker room over this.  I know it's only 24 hours post, but is the mood different around the team with Riley removed from this?

Kelly: I'm concerned every day with what our locker room is like.  Obviously, in this situation there's going to be -- not everybody's going to be in agreement with whatever went on, one way or the other.  And I think that's very understandable. I told our guys this is going to take some time, some time to totally wrap our arms around the whole situation and understand kind of the gravity of when you speak there is weight behind your words. I think it's natural to be honest with you.

Is it difficult for a guy to miss time when everybody's competing for a roster spot?  Does that put him that much further behind?

Kelly: We have not made any considerations from a football standpoint because it's not a football issue.

But he's going to miss football practice?

Kelly: Yeah, he is.

When a guy misses practice, isn't that difficult to make a team?

Kelly: We haven't really talked about that. I guess, to me, we've divorced the whole football part of this. This isn't a football issue. Riley admits Riley needed help, so Riley's going to get help.  There is not a consideration of, well, Riley needs to get help, but let's see where our roster is.  That's never been a discussion.

You said yesterday you wanted Riley to be here yesterday.

Kelly: Because I didn't want Riley to be by himself. I have a concern for Riley too. I know how he feels about this thing, so I think he needed to be with us. We still care about Riley. I care about Riley, guys on this team care about Riley. Mr. Lurie cares about Riley, Howie [Roseman] cares about Riley. He was wrong in what he did, but that doesn't mean we're just going to kick him to the street.

Is he getting alcohol training, anger management training?

Kelly: No, I have no idea. We've got him with a group of people, and they'll decide what the best course is.

You're down three receivers now.  Is there a sufficient depth at that position? 

Kelly: On August 2nd, yeah.

If this isn't a football decision, is that why [Chairman and CEO] Jeffrey [Lurie] made the ultimate decision in punishment?

Kelly: We all made the decision.

I thought the team said it was Jeffrey's decision?

Kelly: We were all in the room. I don't think there was anybody in there that said that's not the right decision. Ultimately, I think everything that goes on, Mr. Lurie makes the decision. He made the decision to hire Howie. He made the decision to hire me. He was ultimately in charge. But we made the -- it was a collaboration in terms of what was going on, and Riley was in agreement with it.

Did you face any type of a situation like this at Oregon?

Kelly: We had issues. I don't know. Not of this -- I don't think anything's been like this, you know what I mean? I think because of what he said and in the locker room itself, I think that's a little bit different.

Is he going out of town or will he still have the opportunity to be around guys and work out if he wants to?

Kelly: Yeah, he's not with us right now. In deference to Riley and the professionals he's dealing with, I can't say where he's headed or anything.

Strictly from a size standpoint, would you feel comfortable using some personal groupings and put DeSean and Damaris together on the field, or is that too much?

Kelly: It depends on, I guess, the question. That's why I don't like hypotheticals. What's available? Do you have the full complement of people available when you're playing in your opening game? Or do you have three or four injuries and they're your two best guys? So I can't, you know, in the ideal world, no. I think I would love everybody to be MegaTron. If we had five of them, that would be a great situation. Again, that's why I don't know.  If we get to September 9 and those are our two best guys, we're going to play with what we have.

What have you learned about DeSean throughout this camp?

Kelly: What have I learned about DeSean? I thought he came back in really good shape. It was evident to us that he worked since he left here in June. I think he's an explosive player. I think he's very difficult to cover in one on one situations. We're trying to figure out as we get through what his comfort level is, what routes he feels really good with. I think we're starting to get a feel for him. Quarterback's getting a feel for him. Our coaching staff is getting a feel for him. I'm excited about what his future holds with us.

Do you feel like Riley's time on the team will be dictated by the players and whether they accept him back in when he does return?

Kelly: I think our players are in the process of kind of going through this situation themselves.  So we had a very productive meeting today in terms of talking to guys, giving input on it.  But there's been no question ever asked to those guys or anybody at this point in time of whether people are accepting who is coming back or not coming back.

Are those conversations happening with the players?

Kelly: Yeah, part of this whole process, wherever we are, there has to be open communication and education so that situations like this don't happen again. They need to be a part of them.  I think they'll tell you when we discuss things or we do things, you know, we always inform them of what's going on. I think we work with them, they work with us.

What was the tone of the meeting? What was said?

Kelly: I think it was good, to be honest with you. I think three or four people stood up and had an opportunity to say what they wanted to say. You know, I think it's the beginning of the healing process for some guys on this team.

Was it emotional? Any of your guys upset?

Kelly: I didn't note an upsetness in anybody's tone. Some guys wanted to be heard. But I think these guys know each other pretty well. I don't think there was an upset [tone]. I didn't detect that in anybody in terms of how they spoke.

That was with Riley, right?

Kelly: No, Riley had left at that point.

As a head coach, how do you go down picking up the pulse of how players are feeling?

Kelly: I think it's our job as coaches. We've been around them enough. You see guy's body language and watch how they react. You make sure you talk to them. I think we're pretty open in how we do things. We spend a lot of time together during the day. We're here for 14, 16 hours together as a group. So I think you can get a feeling on what a person's mood or how their feeling is. We encourage guys to talk to us and to share with us. I think our players have. So, you know, I think that's how you kind of go about it. I think they've got to understand where you're coming from. There is kind of a brotherhood in there of all of us. I think we understand each other. We're getting in the process. We've only been together as a group, all of us, since April 1st, and then you have the rookies in there. But I would hope those guys feel like the lines of communication are always open.

With all the distractions with Riley, how do you think the players have handled practice in the last couple of days?

Kelly: Yeah, I don't think we look at it as an escape. If you do, probably that's not the right way. I think this is an issue that, as I said yesterday and I'll use Jason Avant's words, it can't be swept under the rug. I think it's an important issue we all need to address. I think, as I told the guys today, when we were young and we grew up, we heard sticks and stones will break our bones, but words will never hurt us. That's not true. Words can hurt. We all should watch what we say whether it's a racist comment or sexist comment or sexual orientation comment because your words have impact. When you say them, people listen and it can hurt people. I think as a group there's one thing we can all do moving forward and educate ourselves that we should watch our tone and we should watch what we say, because it can impact people.

Kelce missed some snaps today.  Are you guys just giving him a break?

Kelly: Yeah, I think Jason's fine. I think sometimes his card gets a little -- he just needs a little rest in terms of what he's doing. But I don't think there are any issues. If there is anything, we'll report on it. But I don't think there is anything to read into that right now. Every once in a while he'll not take a team period just as we get him back. It's a matter of more the muscle getting what it needs in terms of the injury itself.

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