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Kelly downplays LeSean McCoy's injury

8/19/2014

PHILADELPHIA -- A day after LeSean McCoy revealed he has an injured left big toe, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly downplayed the seriousness of the injury and playfully mocked the media for making too big a deal about it.

McCoy, 26, led the NFL in rushing yards last season, and news of his injury was a big deal given that he's the Eagles' biggest playmaker on offense. Plus, the depth behind McCoy at running back is shaky at best. Third-year running back Chris Polk should be the Eagles' No. 2 running back, but he has missed both preseason games with a nagging hamstring injury and has not practiced in weeks.

Darren Sproles is the more reliable option to spell McCoy, but he is 31 years old and the prevailing theory is that Kelly would prefer to use Sproles more as a receiver out of the backfield and give him just a handful of carries each game.

Speaking to the media on Sunday before practice, Kelly did not mention McCoy was not going to practice. Kelly did not talk to the media on Monday, so Tuesday morning was the first opportunity he had to address McCoy's injury publicly.

"I don't think he'll ever play again," Kelly said sarcastically when asked about McCoy. He added: "He's fine. He practiced full yesterday. He's fine. It's not as big an issue as anybody's made it out to be."

On Sunday, McCoy seemed irritated about something as he walked off the practice field. He would not answer questions about why he didn't practice.

"LeSean is a competitor and wants to be out there," Kelly said. "It was just one incident. There's a lot of questions about a toe for a practice in August."

Asked about McCoy's general practice demeanor, Kelly did not exactly give a ringing endorsement.

"It's OK," he said. "Some days he's great out there, and there are other days he's not so great."

McCoy was named a first-team All-Pro last season after leading the league with 1,607 rushing yards and 2,146 yards from scrimmage. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2010, he ranks second to Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson in rushing yards.

Later during his media availability, Kelly was asked if starting inside linebacker DeMeco Ryans is the most indispensable player on the team, given that Ryans makes all the defensive calls, including audibles. Kelly said no, mentioned center Jason Kelce and quarterback Nick Foles and then mentioned McCoy.

"I think everybody would be kind of sad here if LeSean McCoy's toe injury was so grievous that we never had him again," Kelly said. "So there's a lot of indispensable players."