Kelly respects Cowboys, doesn't share hate
PHILADELPHIA (AP) From Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Jason Garrett to Dick Vermeil, Buddy Ryan and Andy Reid, the men in charge have changed while the rivalry remains intense.
No matter the coaches, the players or the records, it's always a big game when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Dallas Cowboys. First place in the NFC East is on the line for Sunday night's prime-time matchup between the two 9-4 teams.
Chip Kelly understands fans in Philadelphia strongly dislike the Cowboys, but he doesn't share those feelings.
''I've never been a hate guy. I don't hate anybody we've ever played,'' Kelly said. ''I've got the utmost respect for them and I hope when we have an opportunity to play any team that we play, they are at their full strength. That's the best part about it; that's when you really truly get two competitors going against it.''
Ryan was revered in Philadelphia because he often beat the Cowboys during his tenure as coach from 1986-90. The brash and bombastic Ryan didn't hide his animosity for Landry or Johnson. During a game against Landry's Cowboys following the 1987 strike, Ryan ordered Randall Cunningham to fake taking a knee and throw deep to run up the score because he felt Dallas did that to Philadelphia's replacement players.
Then there was the ''Bounty Bowl'' game on Thanksgiving Day 1989 when players said Ryan offered money to whoever knocked kicker Luis Zendejas or quarterback Troy Aikman out of the game.
So despite his 0-3 record in the playoffs, Ryan is beloved by Eagles fans.
The same fans once threw snowballs at Johnson at old Veterans Stadium. They also cheered the ambulance that drove Michael Irvin off the field after he suffered a career-ending injury in 1999.
But Kelly does things his way. He even said he would allow the Cowboys to practice on his team's field if the situation arose and they needed it.
''I understand (fans hate the Cowboys) but that's not the way we're wired,'' Kelly said. ''I think I want to compete against the best, and it's the same thing if we went to go play any other place in the NFL, they would allow us to practice at their facility. When I was in college, everybody allowed us to practice. USC practiced at our place when we were at Oregon and we could practice at their place. That's what this deal is all about.''
Players change teams so much these days in the NFL that it's difficult to find players who feel the same way fans do about rivals. Only a decade ago, there were Eagles like Brian Dawkins who echoed the city's feelings about Dallas.
''As long as they have that star on their helmet, it's still the Cowboys,'' Dawkins once said.
Players such as Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant still do plenty of trash-talking. Bryant called Philadelphia's cornerbacks ''cheap'' after the Eagles beat Dallas 33-10 on Thanksgiving.
The quarterbacks, however, traded compliments.
''It's just great to see someone be resilient and take adversity and come back stronger from it,'' Romo said of Mark Sanchez. ''And that's what Mark's done and I think it's a great lesson for a lot of people. I think when you look at it closely, it'd be better if he didn't do it with the Eagles, but I think he's done a great job.''
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