EAGLES TRADE FOR A RUNNING BACK — JUST A COINCIDENCE?

By Michael McCarthy

On the same day that Eagles coach Chip Kelly pooh-poohed the severity of running back LeSean McCoy’s turf toe injury and called out RB Chris Polk (photo above) for not returning quickly from an injury, the team traded for a running back.

Coincidence?

Let’s hope so.

The Eagles traded a conditional seventh-round draft pick to the Carolina Panthers for running back Kenjon Barner.

Barner, 5-foot-9, 195 pounds, had just six carries for seven yards after being drafted by the Panthers in the sixth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

“Kenjon will hopefully bring some depth to both our running back and return positions,” said Kelly. “He’s obviously a guy I know really well from Oregon, where he had a very productive career. He has a lot of speed, explosiveness and had a knack for making some really big plays.”

Barner steps into a running back competition that features Chris Polk, Matthew Tucker and Henry Josey.

Since the Eagles gave up basically nothing for Barner, it is hard to read too much into the move, as Kelly could just be taking a flyer on a former player.

On the other hand, the fact that the move was made on the same day Kelly gave Polk a warning about waiting too long to return from injury is likely no coincidence. The trade could also have been made with receiver Josh Huff in mind, who is expected to miss at least the rest of the preseason. It is possible that the Eagles view Barner as Huff’s potential replacement at kick returner while the receiver recovers from a shoulder injury.>

“Our plan with him right now is get him in Philadelphia as soon as we can,” said Kelly of Barner,” and plug him in at running back and returner and let him compete.

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