By Peter Gleason
Chalk this story up to:
Man Bites Dog, Philly Style!
Former Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly has been the target of much scorn over the past few seasons. Whether it’s his alleged bias against black players, or his disregard for the defensive side of the ball, Kelly has had many ex-players accuse him of being racist and media outlets suggesting he isn’t head coaching material.
But one of his former players has nothing but praise for Kelly, and is grateful for the faith that was exhibited in him during his tenure with the Eagles.
“Chip is a good dude. He was a good man,” Dolphins CB Byron Maxwell said of his former coach. “He’s a very smart guy. He knows his football … He changed my life, man. More so than that, he gave me an opportunity. He believed in me, that I could be the guy. It didn’t work out, but it taught me a lot.”
Maxwell was given a six-year, $63 million contract in free agency with around $25 million guaranteed. At the time, Maxwell was touted as one of Kelly’s biggest acquisitions in the offseason, but the move didn’t work out as the Eagles defense ranked 30th in the league that year.
“We weren’t communicating on defense. Our defense just wasn’t good,” Maxwell said. “Our red-zone defense sucked. We just wasn’t good. We just didn’t have the chemistry and the fight for each other that I’m on now (with Miami).”
Maxwell has been having a fairly strong season in his first year with the Dolphins, despite the mistakes he’s made. As always, mistakes are much more glaring than solid cornerback play. Generally, the less you hear about cornerbacks the better.
But regardless, both Maxwell and Kelly have been fighting to prove themselves this season, with one being more successful than the other. When they meet again Sunday, it will certainly be a nice reunion, but neither are likely to go easy on the other.
“I think we both got a chip on our shoulder,” Maxwell said. “They traded us after one year. So it’s like, ‘All right, cool. You blew it.’”