The Eagles sent shockwaves across the NFL last month, trading away star running back LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills. Fans were largely left in the dark as to why head coach Chip Kelly would trade the franchise’ leading rusher. Some pointed to a slight dip in production, while others speculated of a falling out between coach and player.
According to a source with ties to NFL Films, the league has footage of running back LeSean McCoy “threatening to hit” Chip Kelly during the last game of the season against the Giants. The source claims that the league knew McCoy would “be off the team months before” the trade was announced.
Since being dealt to the Bills in exchange for promising linebacker Kiko Alonso, McCoy hasn’t shied away from speaking out against his former coach and team. Former running back LaDanian Tomlinson, now of NFL Network, discussed a conversation he had with McCoy on NFL Total Access, saying “[McCoy] talked about how he and Chip Kelly’s relationship had become a little strained, and he just did not think Philly was committed to him…He felt the writing was on the wall that they were trying to move on this offseason, and sure enough we have this trade.”
McCoy himself was on the Rich Eisen show, and said that that he and Tomlinson has similar issues in their careers. “He’s a guy that’s been in my shoes as far as being on a team for so long and then not seeing eye-to-eye,” McCoy said, “and maybe, potentially having to leave.” McCoy recently told The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane that he doesn’t feel Kelly values his marquee players: “I don’t think he likes or respects the stars. I’m being honest. I think he likes the fact that it’s ‘Chip Kelly and the Eagles.”
Many felt the trade was fueled from financial issues, as McCoy was set to count $12 million against the Eagles cap. However, the team then signed former Cowboy DeMarco Murray to a similarly hefty price.
McCoy described Kelly’s demeanor to McLane, stating “the tension – the this or that – he doesn’t like that.” This “tension” seemingly boiled over in the season finale, setting the eventual countdown on McCoy’s time in Philly.
UPDATE: Mike Pantaleone of Broken Bell Sports called NFL Films himself to verify the validity of this story, and came away from the conversation with this:
“While most reports end up being bogus, this one appears to be the real deal. I called NFL Films personally, and spoke with a woman who referred me to another number in New York and said they were aware of this and that they “wouldn’t touch it”.”
Pantaleone went on the further tell us that when he called, quote, “NFL Films seemed terrified”.
UPDATE 2: Brian McCarthy, VP of Communications at NFL, stated: “We have not heard of anyone who has that footage at NFL Films.”
Spoke with NFL Films representative RE: McCoy issue. Was told that, ‘There is nothing brewing here’. Instructed to keep eyes on NFL website
— Somers Price (@somerspsec215) April 10, 2015