PHILADELPHIA — Less than 48 hours after quarterback Sam Bradford said he wanted to be back with the Philadelphia Eagles, coach Chip Kelly said he wanted his quarterback to return.
Speaking Monday after the Eagles were eliminated from playoff contention with Saturday night's 38-24 loss to the Washington Redskins, Kelly said he wants and expects Bradford to be his quarterback in 2016.
Bradford's original six-year rookie contract expires at the end of the season and unless he re-signs with the Eagles, he will become an unrestricted free agent in March.
"I know where Sam stood the whole season, and I know we are on the same page in terms of where we are,"Kelly said. "It's just we don't negotiate during the season with anybody. So that wasn't a 'Hey, we don't want Sam back.' That's just the way it is. A player shouldn't be worried about his contract while the season is going on, and that will be something we will address after the season."
The season will officially end for the Eagles on Sunday when they play at the Giants. Bradford is expected to start; Kelly says he will play to win and not get a look at his younger players.
In his first season with the Eagles after being acquired from St. Louis in a trade for quarterback Nick Foles and a 2016 second-round pick, Bradford got better as the season progressed. In 13 starts, he completed 64 percent of his passes for 3,405 yards with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. That's a quarterback rating of 84.6.
The Eagles (6-9) were 6-7 in Bradford's starts.
"You know, I want to be back here," Bradford said Saturday night after the loss to the Redskins. "Obviously, we are not at the stage where we have been talking about that, but if it does present itself and I do have the opportunity, then this is where I want to be.
"I've enjoyed my time here. I've enjoyed being in Philadelphia. I think throughout my career, I've learned that learning new offenses every year, it's just hard to continue to improve. You are always learning. You are learning new verbiage, learning new plays, learning new systems. And I would really like to stay in the same one and have the opportunity to play a second year."
His head coach seems to share those sentiments.
"We didn't trade for him to say, 'Hey, we want to get one season out of him and then we are going to go in a different direction,' " Kelly said That's certainly not the case."