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Chip Kelly on Suggs' hit on Bradford: Officiating head misinterpreted play

PHILADELPHIA -- Quarterback Sam Bradford was not running a zone-read play when he was hit low by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Monday.

"It was just a handoff," Kelly said. "Not every shotgun run is a zone-read play. We didn't run any zone-reads. We don't run as much zone-read as everyone thinks we do. I thought the interpretation on the field was correct."

Suggs was penalized for a personal foul on the play. On Monday morning, NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said on NFL Network that a flag should not have been thrown.

"If the quarterback has an option, he's considered a runner until he either clearly doesn't have the football or he re-establishes himself as a passer," Blandino said. "So it's not a foul by rule."

Kelly refuted Blandino's interpretation.

"He said it was a read-option play, but it wasn't a read-option play," Kelly said. "I know our quarterbacks can get hit on a read-option play, but not every run we have is a read-option run. We run sweep, power, counter, trap -- all of those things out of the gun.

"Everyone in the league runs shotgun runs. Are they going to hit every quarterback in the league when they hand off in the shotgun? That's up to the league. I think it would be troubling for the league if every quarterback in the shotgun can be hit."

On the play, Bradford lined up in shotgun formation. He took the snap from center Jason Kelce, turned to his left and handed the ball off to running back Darren Sproles.

"I think there's probably just some gray area as far as what a zone-read is," Bradford said. "Just because you're running a play out of the shotgun doesn't mean it's a zone-read. We have a lot of plays in our offense where there are absolutely no reads for us. It's an automatic give."

Suggs, who was not blocked on the play, got to Bradford quickly. Ignoring Sproles, Suggs dove toward Bradford's surgically repaired left knee.

"When you run the read-option, you have to know the rules," Suggs said after the game. "If you want to run the read-option with your starting quarterback that has had two knee surgeries, that's on you. That's not my responsibility to update you on the rules. I could have hit him harder than that. I eased up."

Suggs did not appear to be going at full speed when he contacted Bradford, who went down on his back.

Based on the replay, it's impossible to say what Bradford was going to do next. Suggs was there before Bradford could step back out of the play or execute a read-option fake.

"We run the same offense we ran with Nick [Foles last year]," Kelly said. "Nick had 16 carries in eight games last year. In eight games, Nick was credited with eight rushes. Some of them were quarterback scrambles where Nick went over the line of scrimmage and it became a rush."

Bradford and Eagles left tackle Jason Peters said Saturday that they thought Suggs was trying to hit Bradford's rehabbed knee. Peters pointed out that Suggs had been practicing against the Eagles for three previous days and was well aware of Bradford's situation.

"I didn't think it was deliberate," Kelly said. "I haven't talked to the league. I thought it was a penalty, and I thought [referee] Jerome Boger called it right."

Kelly said Blandino's comments were based on the play being a read-option, in which the outside defender is coached to cover the quarterback, who could keep the ball to run or pass.

"Sam wasn't going anywhere," Kelly said.