This Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles head to East Rutherford the play the New York Giants could be the last regular season game of Jason Kelces’ career.
Kelce has the most consecutive starts in the Eagles’ history and holds the second-longest streak in the NFL for consecutive starts. He is also playing some of the best football of his career
The Eagles’ 7x Pro Bowler, in year 13, is the anchor of the best offensive line in the National Football League. He is the leader of the most successful play in the NFL, The Brotherly Shove, where gets so low on every snap that his nose is touching the turf. And, he is only allowing pressure on 1.6% of pass plays which is the lowest of his career. So will he retire at the season’s end? Even Jason does not seem to know.
Yet, in the back of Jason’s mind, he does know that his time on the field, mentoring, and teaching as a player will soon be coming to an end.
But he stated it no longer consumes his thoughts.
“Maybe three years ago, it was on my mind quite a bit. I’ve learned now that I don’t know when that last game is going to come, so maybe I think about it a little bit less.”
So, like the rest of the team, Jason “Keeps the main thing, the main thing” and focuses on the here and now. He takes that part of his job seriously, to lead by example and exude what it means to be a Philadelphia Eagle.
Former Eagles General Manager, Joe Banner, stated that in addition to being the best individually, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, and Brandon Graham share that same desire, to pay it forward.
“There’s a very fundamental thing they have in common, in addition to being talented players. That’s the reason they have been on the team as long as they have and why they are not just good players but people that have elevated the whole roster.”
Jason, and the others, are still elevating the Eagles’ roster, and steadying the ship when times are rough, by forging trust and building strong relationships with their teammates.
Lane Johnson describes Jason as the “nucleus” of their team.
“With how he plays, with his emotions and passion for the game, it bleeds into everything we’ve been trying to do here for years with the culture.”
Teammate, and fellow offensive lineman, Jordan Maialta has a picture of Kelce wearing the Batman Mask as the wallpaper on his phone.
“Fat Batman is a true leader”
In addition to playing at a high level and being available week in and out, what matters to him the most are those relationships he’s created.
“We played a lot of football together. We know each other very well. We’ve been through a lot of battles. It’s really rare that many guys get to play together for over a decade.”
Quarterback Jalen Hurt appreciates the veteran leadership from Kelce, and others on the team, and is always watching and learning from them.
“They’re definitely guys we can lean on their experience. Experience is the biggest teacher. Having those guys around is definitely beneficial.’’
As a first-time Head Coach, even Nick Sirianni leaned on Jason and the other core four as he adjusted to his new role and city.
“When I first got the job here, I wasn’t like other first-year head coaches. Why I said that was because I had these unbelievable players that have been to the mountaintop, that have played in this league for 10-plus year. Two on the offensive line, two on the defensive line. Knowing what it takes to be successful, knowing the wins that they’ve had, that’s obviously a huge advantage for our football team.”
An advantage that Kelce hopes would allow him to ride off into the sunset as a 2x World Champion.
Jason Kelce has been vocal about coming back for a chance to win his second Championship.
“Obviously, I’m coming back because I want to win. I’m coming back because Jalen Hurts is there, and I feel really confident in our coaches and team” via @newheightshow)
“Jalen Hurts makes all of our jobs a lot easier, when you have a QB playing at that level, everybody plays better around you.”
Winning a Super Bowl is on all of their minds, but staying focused on each game, one week at a time is how they will reach their goal.
“It’s always a chance that that’s going to be the situation, but you just try to think about the game and focus on taking in the moment and being 100% there. It’s hard enough doing it that way. It’s going to be a lot harder if you’re not focused.”
If this is the end, Jason has many post-game options. He currently has the most successful sports documentary in Amazon Prime history. He’s dabbled with television broadcasting, and he has one of the most popular podcasts in the world, New Heights Show, that he does with his brother, KC Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce.
Nobody knows when his time will come to hang up the spikes, and he and his brother would seemingly love to retire together and go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame together. They already have 16 combined pro bowls between them and 3 World Championships.
So who knows, maybe if they both reach the big game together again this season, this will be the year.
But if that were to happen and they face one another again in the Super Bowl, there can only be one who will ride off into the sunset victorious. Maybe this time, Big Brother and the Eagles will get the last laugh.
As always, thank you for reading.
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Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire