Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce, caught up in a storm of radio and internet criticism today after asking fans to take down a sign calling for Andy Reid's head, defended their actions today.
Each said that fans are free to express their opinions, but that they did not want to see such sentiments "on our front yard" outside the NovaCare Complex.
Some background: on Monday the two came to the team facility to watch film and lift. On their way out in Kelce's truck they saw three or so fans holding a sign that read "Andy, the Time's .... to Go." The protesters were across the street from the NovaCare entrance, according to Mathis. That would place them at a public park, not on Eagles property.
After driving past, Kelce and Mathis returned to the fans and said they asked them to take down the sign. Both said they did not threaten the fans, but that the protesters complied. Each has been the subject of much criticism since then. Here's how they responded:
"I support our fans, I support everyone that roots for us, everyone that comes to the games. That's the wrong message that’s being displayed right now. I support freedom of speech," said Kelce. "If you want to go out to talk bad stuff about the coaches or things like that do it on a blog, do it wherever you want, but don’t bring it to our front door right now when we’re 1-4 trying to get better we don’t need that kind of division on the team right now."
But don't fans who support the team have the right to voice their anger at a 1-4 start?
"They have the right to do that just as much as I have the right to tell them – ask them – to take a sign down. I support their freedom of spech and I support their right to say anything they want to. But what I want them to do is do that on a blog, do it in the media, but keep it away from here," Kelce said. "Right now we’re tyring to come together as a team and get this thing fixed. We don’t need people calling for our coach's head right in front of us on our front door when we’re trying to get better."
Kelce said he did not regret doing it.
"I don’t regret it at all. There was nothing ever physical mentioned, there was no harm mentioned – we asked them to take the sign down," he said.
Mathis told a similar version of events.
"We’re trying to come together as a team and stay together as a team and create a positive environment around here and it’s different if you’re going to write about it or call into a radio show or blog about it or talk amongst your friends about it. To go in our front yard and put something so negative right here – I stand by telling them to take that down," he said.
"I didn't want anything negative out there that would start, that could have any kind of potential to create a divide in this team, so we asked them, take it down."
Mathis, who has played for the Dolphins, Bengals and Panthers in previous career stops, said, "You don't know how good you have it around here having Andy as a coach. Andy is a good coach."
Worth noting here is that Kelce and Mathis are new to Philadelphia. Neither is all that familiar yet with the fans here or the city's very divided - and long-standing - opinions on Reid.
-- As for on field news, there wasn't much. Kurt Coleman still seems likely to start at safety Sunday, though Juan Castillo said Jaiquawn Jarrett will get some first team reps in practice this week.
-- Marty Mornhinweg said the Eagles player have great "pride" and need to take care of the football. "Most of our offense is dynamite. .... There are certain things you can't do in a game and win," he said, referring to turnovers.