• Al Thompson

JASON KELCE TALKS ABOUT THE PRO BOWL, THE EAGLES AND HIS FUTURE


Eagles center Jason Kelce was selected to his third Pro Bowl this year. Photo by Al Thompson

KISSIMMEE, FL: Covering the Eagles for so many years, you see so many players come and go. Some last a season, some a decade or so. Many are forever remembered, some fade into the rear view mirror of Eagles history.


Some players we’ll never forget include Bill Bergey, Harold Carmichael, Troy Vincent, Andy Harmon, Brian Dawkins and Ron Jaworski.


Add center Jason Kelsey to the list. The 32-year-old has checked off more boxes for what a player dreams of doing in a career then perhaps any Eagle in history.


He has been a key player in bringing home the first Super Bowl title in franchise history. Kelce has been selected to Pro Bowls, has been an All Pro. He is durable and as solid a citizen as any pro sports franchise could hope for.


He has done all that in just nine seasons. Kelce almost walked away last year. He wants to walk out the front door as a player. When will he retire? After he confirmed retirement was a real possibility last year, Kelce gets asked about his future all the time. Footballstories asked him if he feels a little like Jesus Shuttlesworth, the high basketball star in “He Got Game” who is asked relentlessly every day where he is going to go to college.


“Quite a bit,” Kelce said after the NFC workout session on Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee, FL. “I think that’s the way it is because its been so public and open, everybody wants to ask. For me, I’m just approaching it one year at a time, the same way I have been. I was really fortunate to be really healthy this past season which made it a lot easier as a year, and I feel really good. I’m excited.”


Kelce let it out that he almost certainly returning for a tenth season when he was asked if he was excited to be playing for a new offensive coordinator, whoever that is plus all the new coaches expected to be hired before players report for offseason training this spring.


“I’m always looking forward to working with anybody to be honest with you,” Kelce said. “With new coaches, it could be better, could be worse. One thing that’s guaranteed is there will be a new perspective. You’re going to get a few tips you that you really haven’t thought of in the same way. For me, selfishly, I may be able to gain something like that. I can tell you right now I am going to miss Mike (Groh) I’m going to miss all the guys that are not going to be there. They were phenomenal for us.”



A rare time when you see the two best centers in the NFC side-by-side. Travis Frederick and Jason Kelce. Photo by Al Thompson

In 2019 Lane Johnson and Malcolm Jenkins said one of the many positives of being selected to the Pro Bowl was the opportunity to pick the brains of the players they played against and also their peers. Jason Kelce, has the opportunity to share experiences with his counterpart Travis Frederick, the five-time Pro Bowl center for the Dallas Cowboys.


“Absolutely, I don’t approach it like I’m necessarily trying to gain information,” Kelce said. “But you kind of do. You’re always talking shop. A big part of it is just getting to know the person. We in a fortunate part of the business where all these guys are doing it at the top level here. You get to be around like-minded people, like-minded guys. You want to find out what their approach is to being great, find out what their personality is that lends them to being successful. It’s fun to gain all that. There are a lot of great personalities and players. It’s a fun week.”


The Pro Bowl takes a lot of heat for its lack of intensity. And for good reason. All other sports are contact sports, football is a collision sport. This all-star game doesn’t count. No one wants to get from getting a wicked hit or delivering a big hit.


But Pro Bowl week is a blast for fans who get to meet NFL players face-to-face.


“It’s an underrated event for fans,” Kelce said. “It’s a great opportunity to come and meet some of the best players. When you think about it, there’s not that many people here. If you really want to get your autographs or see some guys up close and personal, some of the best in the world. It’s hard to beat this environment right here. The game is not necessarily that tough…but what makes it kind of tough is when you expect it to not be tough, and one guy is going hard, then it kind of builds up. The last thing you want to be doing is to be caught sleeping and not prepared.”


That’s is one thing that will never happen with Kelce as long as he is an Eagle.

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