Former offensive lineman Tra Thomas, who played for the Eagles from 1998-2008, suggested Tuesday that some of coach Chip Kelly's players felt like there was "a hint of racism" in the Eagles' locker room.
"One of the things that you're seeing right now, and these are the things that you have heard from the locker room from different players is that ... they feel like there is a hint of racism," Thomas said during an appearance on FOX, via NJ.com.
Thomas, a former first-round pick of the Eagles, joined Philadelphia's coaching staff in 2013 as an intern. In 2014, he worked with linebackers and pass rushers but Kelly informed him after the season that the team was eliminating his position and he wouldn't be back.
His comments come a day after ESPN's Stephen A. Smith insinuated that there were concerns in Philadelphia that Kelly favored white players following the departures of DeSean Jackson (last offseason), LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, and given that Riley Cooper, who was videotaped shouting racial slurs at a country music concert, is still with the team.
"Coach Kelly bagged [Cooper] and he sent him off to have some coaching on how to handle race, I don't know," Thomas said. "But my question with that [is] when you look at a Riley Cooper is ... if he was black and at a Trey Songz concert or something and he was talking to a white person or a homosexual like that, and he was gay bashing, would he still be on the team?"
Meanwhile, the Eagles just-re-signed Mark Sanchez (he's Mexican-American), just traded for Kiko Alonso (half Columbian and half Cuban-American), and will officially sign African-American cornerback Byron Maxwell to a lucrative deal when free agency starts. Oh, and Kelly once coached -- and is reportedly still enamored with -- Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is of Samoan heritage.
But Thomas' concerns go beyond the roster and include the coaching staff.
"Yeah, you have seven assistant black coaches but only one black coach is over the segment. The other guys are assistants to the assistant coaches," he said. "(Running backs coach) Duce Staley is the only guy that's head over his segment who is gonna be in charge of his group. The other guys are just assistants to an assistant coach."
So yeah, this doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon. In fact, we talked about Kelly, perceived racism, and what the Eagles have done this offseason on the latest Eye on Football Podcast (remember: never miss an episode by subscribing via iTunes).