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August 04, 2015

Chip Kelly says sports science is why DeMarco Murray was limited on Sunday

Eagles NFL
080415_Murray_AP Chris Szagola/AP

DeMarco Murray downs some water on Sunday.

Chip Kelly met with the media on Tuesday prior to the Eagles open practice at Lincoln Financial Field, and while he refused to discuss the rumors that the team is working on a contract extension with quarterback Sam Bradford, he did give a reason for holding running back DeMarco Murray out of the majority of Sunday's practice.

"That was our decision [to keep him out]," Kelly said, confirming what his running back told reporters a day earlier. "We deal with a hydration status test and he was a little bit high. And obviously when you see guys that are high -- from a hydration standpoint -- then you kind of pull them back a little bit, because that's when they are susceptible to injuries."

On Monday, Murray was somewhat upset, but still unsure as to why he was held out of camp.

"You're always upset when you don't get a chance to go out there and compete and really take a little pressure off the other guys," he admitted. "Obviously I wanted to be out there."

"That's how it goes," Murray continued. "I don't know whose decision it was."

We now have an answer for the 27-year-old back. And this is not the first time the Eagles have held a player back based on their sports science monitoring. 

"We've done that before," the Eagles coach added. "We monitor guys in a lot of different ways and there's a reason we do it. If you see a guy who we feel isn't hydrated enough, which puts him in a more susceptible situation to injury, that's what we're trying to do and that's part of what our sports science is. We're trying to prevent injuries, instead of saying afterwards 'Joe Jones pulled his hamstring. What was his hydration level?' And if he was really dehydrated, why didn't we know about that before we were out on the field. 

"That's why we do what we do. Just checks and balances, so that you can prevent things. Because once it happens, you can't really get it back."

Kelly went on to say that he didn't think Murray's failed test had anything to do with the six weeks off leading up to training camp. In fact, he praised his new running backs condition, saying he was possibly the most in-shape player on the team.

"If you don't play with the right amount of water and electrolytes, it doesn't matter how fit you are," he said. "And especially the weather, that was a big factor for us as well. We've had back-to-back -- going on three-straight -- 90-degree days."

Murray went through individual workouts on Sunday -- he was a full participant on Monday and so far Tuesday -- before being held out of team drills. And according to his coach, that's the same thing he would do for anyone who wasn't properly hydrated ... or failed any of the other conditioning tests.

"We would do the same with anybody," Kelly said. "It's not that we're treating him differently than anybody else. We have full monitors on everybody. That's why we have GPS monitors and heart rate monitors, among other things. We can try to prevent injuries before they happen, instead of after the fact saying that probably happened because he was dehydrated and we should have done something about it on the front end."

Don't worry. You read that correctly. The Eagles have GPS monitors on their players.

Obviously the next question from the media, which came from The Inquirer's Jeff McLane, was a request for more information on those monitors, specifically whether or not they could track players in their free time.

"They're only on the training field," Kelly said.

"And your car, actually," he continued jokingly. "Because you had a really bad parking job. ... So be leery of Big Brother, because he's everywhere."

It got a nice laugh from all the media, including McLane, who didn't argue with Chip's assessment of his driving skills.

"Did you see his parking job, by the way? Oh my god."