Denver Broncos left guard Evan Mathis commented on his former coach Chip Kelly, and there weren't any positives to take away, per Mike Klis of 9News.
Kelly, who is the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, was Mathis' coach with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2014. The two-time Pro Bowler asked for his release from the Eagles so he could sign elsewhere in 2015, and he made his thoughts on Kelly crystal-clear, per Klis:
There were many things that Chip had done that showed me he wasn’t building a championship team. Two of the main issues that concerned me were: 1. A never-evolving, vanilla offense that forced our own defense to play higher than normal play counts. 2. His impatience with certain personality types even when they were blue-chip talents. The Broncos team I was on would have eaten Chip alive. I don’t think he could have handled the plethora of large personalities.
This isn't the first time a former player has had something to say about Kelly, but it's arguably the most critical, especially because Klis noted Mathis wanted to email his thoughts so he could articulate them better.
Mathis, who was a first-team All-Pro in 2013, said Kelly refused to work with him when he asked for his release, so Mathis tried a unique approach.
"Most players would use their agent to handle such a task. Mathis directly texted Kelly with a YouTube video of Engelbert Humperdink singing, 'Please release me, let me go,'" Klis noted.
The Eagles put him on the trade block before finally releasing him in June. Mathis eventually signed a one-year, $4.25 million deal with Denver.
Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News quipped about Mathis' revelations:
Les Bowen @LesBowen
Thanks to @EvanMathis69 and Engelbert Humperdinck, I have totally lost focus on this @MalcolmJenkins story I'm writing. Dammit Evan...2016-2-23 00:59:33
It's not surprising that Kelly wasn't willing to work with Mathis, as many believe he has an inflated ego after major success with the Oregon Ducks. But Mathis has always given his all to his teams.
According to Klis, he turned down an extra $1.5 million from the Miami Dolphins because he felt Denver had a better chance to win the Super Bowl. He also fought through many injuries last season, including the flu and a sore ankle that will require surgery:
The only fluid I could get into my body was via IVs before the game and at halftime. I threw up on the sideline every time I tried to drink water or Gatorade and made a few trips to the restroom near our sideline for other urgent matters. I believe we played the hottest game in the NFL that day (88 degrees at kickoff) so it was the perfect storm for misery.
The No. 1 reason for mistakes or not completing an assignment is a lapse in focus. It can be a fraction of a second and it can happen for a number of reasons: Hearing a call from a teammate, hearing the defense make a call, “daydreaming bout when that hotline bling” (a reference to a Drake lyric), lack of confidence, seeing the lineman shift, listening to something else, years of ramming your head into people for a living, looking at something else, lack of energy, and the list goes on. The stomach flu caused a few lapses in focus for me so I had an above-my-average-number of losses that day. Something I’m not proud of.
Philadelphia went 6-9 through 15 games before firing Kelly last year, while the Broncos won their third Super Bowl in franchise history. It's easy to see who came out on the better end of this battle.
Kelly could possibly do damage control to his image if he excels in San Francisco. He is their third coach in three years after Jim Harbaugh left for college and Jim Tomsula was fired after a 5-11 season last year.
However, it won't be an easy task considering San Francisco has a high-paid quarterback on the bench in Colin Kaepernick and is thin at running back and wide receiver. The defense is suspect as well, and Kelly most likely won't win right away.
If he doesn't check his ego at the door, and loses ball games on top of that, the future could be more of the same for the 52-year-old coach.