College coaches do this.
Colleges coaches talk about respected veterans coming back to “speak to the young guys.” College coaches refer to the team as “the program.” College coaches hardly decline any media requests and show up to far-flung events, because any chance to get their face in front of a camera lens – which may have an athletic 6’4, 220 Ib. high school junior connected to the other end – must be taken. College coaches talk about scheduling the best opponents. College coaches show school spirit.
Chip Kelly has done all of those things since arriving in Philadlephia less than 48 hours ago.
He repeatedly referred to the Eagles as a “program” during his press conference yesterday.
This morning, he called into WIP, telling Angelo Cataldi that he was more excited to talk to him than anyone else in the city. Kelly says he listened to WIP while recruiting in the Philly area for New Hampshire. A Red Sox fan, Kelly, who must have referenced wings 600 times during his 15-minute interview with the Morning Show, talked about how his new National League team is the Phillies. He said that the Eagles will take on any challenge and play anybody (good, because that’s what the NFL schedule makers had in mind too). He also said that he will try to attend Wing Bowl and, perhaps, the Kappa Delta ice cream social in the quad.
He’s program building, after all.
And like I said, program builders honor respected vets. So it should come as no surprise that Kelly showed up to an event honoring Brian Dawkins at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philly last night.
Kelly briefly took the podium, where he said this– the same speech that, while a student at Villanova, I heard Jay Wright give every time Kerry Kittles came anywhere near campus:
“Excited to have [Dawkins] a part of the program. Going to lean on him a lot to tell our young guys exactly how the game is supposed to be played, because that guy played the game the way it was supposed to be played.”
The freshman are totally going to be in awe of Dawkins. Other young guys, like LeSean McCoy, one of the best running backs on the planet, maybe less so.
You have to respect Kelly's effort. No doubt that the Eagles PR machine (more later today on the great job they’re doing– seriously), knowing how Andy Reid was hated by basically every local media outlet, is behind much of this. But that’s OK. And it’s OK that since arriving on Wednesday night, Kelly has crossed off most of the items on his List of Philly Things: Santa Claus. Wing Bowl. Phillies. Cataldi and Papale. Showing up at Chickie’s and Pete’s to honor Brian Dawkins and talking about how the Eagles are going to play “like that guy played.” Flyers-Penguins game.
So let Kelly champion “the program” all he wants. It’s refreshing. There will be plenty of time to ask him why, in the hell, he went for it on fourth and 12. For now, let’s just keep fingers-crossed that he shows up to our charity bachelor auction at the Fieldhouse.
Watch Kelly speak about Dawkins after the jump and listen to him on the WIP Morning Show here.