Speaking Friday for the first time since the NFL owners' meetings, Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie called the recent allegations of racism made against Chip Kelly "beyond ridiculous."
Various claims from scorned former Eagles were made over the summer of Kelly's ability to interact and coexist with African-American players. Former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, cornerback Brandon Boykin, offensive line and then coaching intern Tra Thomas, and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith all had something strong to say.
The remarks have not been substantiated publicly by anyone currently in the organization, and McCoy, Boykin and Thomas had all been let go by Kelly, a factor many think played a role in the comments.
“Some of it has just been beyond ridiculous," Lurie said. "Chip is a leader in our organization and he is held to a very, very high standard. I watch him relate to players. His door is always open. I’ve never even seen that before. He cares about the people, the players. I am just very proud and have complete respect for him as a person and as a coach.
"Listen, LeSean and Tra are both really good alumni of our organization. People say things sometimes when they are in a sense rejected. They get dejected because they were rejected, and then they say things. I know the way Chip is, and I am very proud of the way he is."
Lurie addressed a host of other topics, including his expectations for Sam Bradford and his opinion of the recent controversies NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has dealt with.
But he made clear on several occasions how firmly behind Kelly he is.
"He's an excellent coach in this league and there's no question about it," Lurie said. "He doesn't need to prove anything. He's a builder of a roster, a culture-builder, he's everything that we all thought when we all interviewed him and more.
"We had a lot of discussions, myself, Howie (Roseman), Ed (Marynowitz, VP of player personnel), Don (Smolenski, team president) in the interview process. It was a pretty grueling process. Interviews were eight hours and sometimes more in follow-ups after that. It wasn't about just hiring X's and O's. We knew Chip was very dynamic and very smart, but we wanted someone who could see the big picture at all times and help build a roster, help build a culture the way we wanted, who had a vision and wasn't afraid to make unpopular decisions.
"That's all come to fruition. Now we've just got to try to remain somewhat healthy and play very well."