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College coach backs off criticism of Chip Kelly

Situation defused.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly drew criticism over the weekend from Widener football coach Mike Kelly. The latter Kelly blamed the former for hosting the Division III school's opponent, Linfield College, in their practice facility prior to a playoff game. Widener to Linfield 45-7 and Mike Kelly suggested the Eagles' coach was to blame. He even wished for the Seattle Seahawks to beat the Eagles, which they did.

Chip Kelly was asked about the comments from the Widener coach on Monday morning during his weekly 94 WIP appearance. This is how he responded.

"Obviously they lost the game, but I think it [the criticism] was a little misguided. Joe Smith, who coaches Linfield College program, I know him. They have an outstanding program. We allow people to use our facility all the time. When Navy played Temple they practiced here. I know the coaches at Navy and they are great people. When West Chester was in the playoffs last year, and they had some bad weather, they came over and practiced here. St. Joe’s Prep has used our facility. A lot of people have. I know that staff.

"I don’t think people realize this. Less than a month ago, they had one of their players killed in a random act of violence. He just went to the store and got stabbed by some guy in a senseless thing."

"You can Google Joe Smith’s letter to his team, and it was a real moving thing. This sport is about leadership and teaching people the lessons you can learn in life. There is not a classier guy than Joe Smith. I was at his practice for five minutes, I’m not allowed to watch practice, but I went down to see him, tell him how much I admired him, and tell him I was honored to let him use the facility. Anytime we can help a team out we do."

Read Joe Smith's letter that Kelly referenced here. It seems really hard to make Chip Kelly look like the bad guy in this situation.

Mike Kelly, a former employee of the Eagles, has backed off from his original comments. Via his Twitter page:

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