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Former Eagles CB Boykin implies Kelly has racist tendencies

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PHILADELPHIA — On the first day of training camp, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly found himself responding to yet another charge of racism from a former player.

Four months ago, it was running back LeSean McCoy. This time, it was cornerback Brandon Boykin, who was traded Saturday to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft.

In a text to CSN Philadelphia reporter Derrick Gunn, Boykin, who is African-American, said Kelly was “uncomfortable around grown men of our culture. He likes total control of everything and he don’t like to be uncomfortable.

“Players excel when you let them naturally be who they are, and in my experience, that hasn’t been important to him. But you guys have heard this before me.”

In March, former Eagles tackle Tra Thomas, who spent the 2013 and 2014 seasons as an assistant coach under Kelly, said there was a “hint of racism” on the Eagles, and pointed out that there was only one non-white head position coach on Kelly’s staff.

A month later, McCoy, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills, accused Kelly of “getting rid of all the good black players” on the Eagles’ roster.

Kelly said he was surprised by Boykin’s comments. He said Boykin shook his hand and gave him a hug Saturday after the head coach told him he had been traded to the Steelers.

“The reality is, we got 90 guys, and you’re going to have to cut to 53,” Kelly said. “So 37 guys are going to be disappointed. And obviously, all 37 of those guys have a different opinion than we have as a staff. But that’s what we’re charged to do.”

Kelly said the Steelers had been interested in Boykin, who is one of the league’s better nickel corners, since the draft. When they agreed to a conditional fifth-round pick that would be upgraded to a fourth-rounder if Boykin plays 60 percent of the Steelers’ defensive snaps this season, they agreed to trade him.

“That’s the part that kind of put it over the top for us,” Kelly said. “Their nickel last year played 60 percent of their snaps. So we thought it was too good a deal for us to turn down.”

At Sunday’s first training camp practice, rookie sixth-round pick JaCorey Shepherd took all of the reps as the first-team nickel corner. It’s apparently his job to lose.

–Quarterback Sam Bradford was a full participant in practice Sunday. Bradford, who is coming off back-to-back ACL tears and didn’t participate in any 11-on-11 work in the spring, shed the knee brace he wore in the spring. He looked fairly sharp in the 90-minute practice without pads. Both Bradford and Kelly said he will play in the Eagles’ first preseason game against Indianapolis on Aug. 16, unless something unforeseen happens between now and then.


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