After every hurdle, every challenge, every setback, this team has faced, the Philadelphia Eagles are just one game away from their Super Bowl appearance in over ten years. While this is a young rosette where over 50% of the players are yet to experience a playoff game, there are those that have been to the very top of the Mountain and cherished the view.
Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Torrey Smith, Donnell Ellerbe, Corey Graham and Malcolm Jenkins have all played on the grandest stage of all. But there’s one veteran on this roster who may not get another opportunity to win it all after this season passes.
That man is Brent Celek. Drafted back in 2007, Celek has the most playoff experience of any current Eagles player, with his five games all coming with the team. The 32-year old has been to the NFC Championship game just once before however, when the Arizona Cardinals were able to defeat Philadelphia by a score of 32-25 to secure the George Hallas trophy.
It shouldn’t be surprising, that one of the hardest working and most beloved Eagles has been instrumental in preparing his team for the occasion.
A few #Eagles with Super Bowl rings like Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long addressed the team today. But so did veteran Brent Celek. Vinny Curry said Celek's speech was even more powerful to him.
— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) January 9, 2018
“We had guys talking to us all week about the feeling of winning the Super Bowl, and the jubilation that we felt after this win was the most excited I think this team has ever been that I’ve been on.” Zach Ertz told reporters after the Eagles stunning playoff win over Atlanta. ” It’s the farthest we’ve ever been as a team since I’ve been here, and the farthest the Eagles have been since [Eagles TE Brent] Celek’s second year in the league. It’s been a long time coming. The city deserves it. They were amazing tonight; the crowd was amazing, and it was a lot of fun today.”
While Ertz has enjoyed a phenomenal season as the team’s leading receiver, amassing 824 yards and 8 touchdowns, Brent Celek’s role has gradually diminished overtime, at least as a receiving option. With Ertz flourishing, Celek’s role has now predominantly become a blocking one, playing a crucial cog in opening the run consistently over the course of the season.
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For the second year in a row, Celek posted career lows in receptions and yards. However, he did play in 40.8% of offensive snaps this season, registering a touchdown and proving he can still be an absolute freight train to bring down with the ball in his hands. This isn’t an opportunity that the Cincinnati product is going to let pass him by, not without a fight.
Brent Celek 💯
“We’re gonna get things right”
“All these guys gotta understand… This opportunity may not come for anybody ever again. Lets step it up”#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/Ok3SmlUOZk
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 31, 2017
A lot can change in nine years. Since that fateful loss to Arizona, Celek has matured as a man both on and off the field and is just two receiving yards shy of reaching 5,000 for his career. Embracing the leadership role, Celek has been a key figure for the younger players in the locker room to lean on as the team now turn their attention to the Minnesota Vikings. But leading is nothing new for Celek, who has been instrumental in developing the young tight end group. From Zach Ertz to Trey Burton, Celek has been a mainstay throughout.
“You’ve got a guy in Celek who is one of the all time greats in Philly, maybe the best tight end Philly has ever had.” Trey Burton explained to me earlier this year. “The way he’s treated me, I have the upmost respect for that guy and would do anything for him. I’m extremely thankful for him.”
It would only be fitting for Brent Celek to win an NFC Championship crown after how much he has given to the Philadelphia Eagles franchise. Beyond that, who knows? But the tight end with just one year left on his contract, this may be his last shot at winning it all. It’s clear that he is doing everything in his power both on and off the field to finally reach the top of what has been a magnificent mountain.
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports