Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson said Wednesday that Chip Kelly was a “dictator” and wouldn’t work together with members of the team.
Kelly was fired on Tuesday, with the Eagles 6–9 headed into the final game of the season. Johnson, the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft and the first player Kelly drafted as head coach of the team, was brutally honest in his assessment of what went wrong in Philadelphia.
“Maybe the ego got in the way,” Johnson told reporters, according to Philly.com. “Too much power. Control. Not being human about things; not working together, with the team, instead of being a dictator.”
Kelly effectively assumed general manager’s duties in January – the team did not have a nominal general manager, but Kelly took control of player personnel while GM Howie Roseman became executive vice president of football operations. Johnson called it a “power struggle” between the two men.
“Just a lot of tension up there that didn't need to happen,” Johnson said of the team’s power structure, “because when you throw it up there, it does trickle down to the team, and the team knows what's going on...We always knew there was a little bit of tension — knew it wasn't just sunshine and rainbows.”
Johnson added that the Eagles’ personnel changes, naming the LeSean McCoy trade, “opened up some eyes” around the locker room and discouraged players from sharing their opinions. He said owner Jeffrey Lurie met with the players on Wednesday and said he would search for a coach “willing to collaborate.”