Eagles head coach Chip Kelly recently visited a Navy football practice in order to watch and speak with the players and coaches. But that wasn't the only reason Kelly was there. According to CapitalGazette.com, Kelly made a special announcement after the practice was over.
The highlight of the visit came at the end when Kelly announced that he was making Will McKamey an honorary member of the Philadelphia Eagles. McKamey, a the freshman slotback, died on March 26, three days after collapsing during a Navy spring practice.
Kelly presented Niumatalolo with a No. 41 Philadelphia Eagle jersey that had the name McKamey stenciled in bold letters on the back. The Tennessee native, who never came out of a coma after undergoing cranial surgery to relieve swelling and bleeding on the brain, wore No. 41 during during his short time as a member of the Navy football team.
"It really means a lot that someone of Chip Kelly’s stature would take the time to come to Annapolis and honor Will in that way," said Niumatalolo, adding that the jersey would be shipped to the Knoxville home of Randy and Kara McKamey. "That Coach Kelly wanted to do something special on behalf of Will, something to uplift his family, shows what a class act he is."
BGN resident Mark Saltveit often notes that Kelly has a lot of respect for the US military. Kelly's actions reveal that notion to be true. Look no further than Eagles sports science coordinator Shaun Huls, who formerly spent time training Navy SEALs. There's also a part of the Eagles' practice regiment called a "High Performance Mindset Meeting" (think: motivational speaker). Last year during training camp a Navy SEAL by the name of Coleman Ruiz spoke to the Eagles' players and coaching staff.
This time, it was the Eagles' coach who was making an impact.
Cool move, Chip.