Former Eagles Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis says he had made his reservations to come back to Philadelphia this weekend, so he could participate in next week’s mandatory workouts at the Nova Care Complex. Mathis didn’t understand that Chip Kelly doesn’t want a veteran with a strong leadership position on the team like Mathis, coming in and contaminating his locker room.
Does Mathis want to play football for the Philadelphia Eagles? Would he have been saying positive things to his young teammates when he arrived next week? No, he would not have. I’m sure he would have had some choice things to say about Kelly and the rest of the Birds front office.
In my opinion, the last thing Kelly wants is a player of Mathis’ status, a Pro Bowler, coming in and getting his team distracted. Remember how important the culture is to Kelly. He wants his players focused on the goal of getting better and not into focusing the Mathis controversy, which would have dominated everything, were the guard to have reported next week.
I saw the divorce coming. We all saw it. It was just a matter of time. Kelly decided to cut the cord early and protect that positive “Growth Mindset”. Some of Kelly’s moves are unusual, but if he wins, you’re going to see a bevy of coaches copying him.
I have seen veteran players, who were in contract squabbles, contaminate the culture of the locker room. They were good players, so I don’t know if taking them back was a good thing or a bad thing. Kelly might be right to get rid of Mathis, but we won’t know right now, but in a few months we will see whether he was right or wrong. If those young guards step up and get the job done, then he was right. If they don’t get the job done, then he was wrong.
I’m sure in Kelly’s mind, he doesn’t want the mindset of his young player affected by a bitter player. Kelly has been very clear about what is most important to him. If the team gets better in the near future and wins a title, Kelly’s strategy will be copied and he’ll be a hero,
When the Eagles players started abandoning Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis I knew it was just a matter of time until Mathis was playing for another team. It’s very unusual for a player’s teammates to abandon him during a contract squabble, because they figure at some point they’re going to be in the situation.
Mathis says it wasn’t a long conversation between he and Chip Kelly.
“We’re going to release you so you can see if you can get what you want,” is what Kelly told Mathis.
Mathis says he asked the coach, “Are you sure that’s what you want?” The offensive lineman says the coach didn’t really respond, but was very cordial in the conversation, as he made it clear that Mathis was no longer a Philadelphia Eagle.
The situation had gotten personal, when the Eagles took an offer off the table. I”m sure Kelly didn’t want Mathis coming into town and talking to his teammates about his grievance. You can see that Kelly wants to have a group of guys focused on football and getting better rather than contract squabbles.
So there you have it. It will be Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin or Andrew Gardner starting at the guard positions when the season starts for the Eagles. They’ve got plenty of time to get ready.