PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly’s words and actions are sending two different messages.
The Philadelphia Eagles coach’s words indicate that Kelly is comfortable with Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner as possible replacements for the guards that Kelly released. But since Evan Mathis followed Todd Herremans out the door this month, Kelly has actively tried to add veteran guards to the Eagles’ roster.
According to a report by FoxSports.com, the Eagles are interested in signing guard John Moffitt, who retired from the NFL two years ago at the age of 27. Moffitt, who was a third-round draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks in 2011, announced that he was returning to football last week.
In Moffitt, the Eagles are bringing in a player with a somewhat troubled past. As a rookie, Moffitt was suspended four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing drugs. Last year, after his retirement, he was arrested in Chicago for battery and for possession of drugs.
Moffitt has publicly said that he has sought counseling for drug and alcohol problems. At the time of his retirement, he cited concern for his long-term health as the primary reason.
All of that makes Moffitt a curious choice for Kelly, a coach who stresses culture and commitment to his program. A player caught violating the PED policy can fit that culture -- offensive linemen Lane Johnson and Barbre both have been suspended for PED violations.
But a player with a history of drug use, who has decided to leave the game behind, would seem to be a poor fit for the culture Kelly has tried to instill with the Eagles. The alternative view is that Moffitt has overcome his issues with illegal substances and is therefore ready to recommit to football.
Barbre is the likely replacement for Mathis at left guard. Tobin, Gardner and Dennis Kelly are among the candidates for Herremans’ right guard spot. Moffitt started nine games at right guard as a rookie in 2011. He played both guard positions in 2012. He was traded to Denver before the 2013 season, playing in two games before announcing his retirement.