Even the No. 1 team in the NFL isn’t above a little controversy.
The Philadelphia Eagles rolled to their league-best 10th win Sunday over the Chicago Bears, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows after the game. Running back Jay Ajayi, who rushed for 26 yards on just five carries with a fumble, appeared a bit downtrodden when asked about his limited number of touches.
“My role is to run the plays that the coaches call. That’s what I’ve been doing,” Ajayi said, via the Philly Inquirer. “I’m just running the play that the coaches call. I’m happy with my role.”
That sounds like a fine answer on paper, but some took issue with Ajayi’s unexcited tone despite the Eagles’ victory.
One of those people was NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Ray Didinger, who had some harsh words for Ajayi on the network’s postgame show.
“If he’s got an issue with the touches, ‘Hey, Chief, this team was winning before you got here,’ ” Didinger said. ” ‘It’s nice to have you here, we’re glad to have you in the clubhouse … but we were doing pretty good before you got to town.’
“So, I would just say, ‘Shut up and tote the ball.’ ”
That’s a pretty blatant call-out, and it didn’t go unnoticed by Ajayi, who fired back via Twitter on Sunday night.
Ajayi has gotten fewer than 10 touches in each of his first three games as an Eagle, so any gripes he has about his workload aren’t unwarranted. It’s also been a frustrating season overall for the 24-year-old: He’s topped 100 yards rushing just twice this year and is averaging nearly 20 rushing yards per game fewer than he did during his 2016 Pro Bowl campaign.
The counterargument, of course, is that Ajayi gets to play on a legitimate Super Bowl contender instead of the 4-7 Miami Dolphins and should swallow his pride for the good of the team. As long as Philly keeps winning, though, this should be a non-issue.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
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