One of the main elephants — other than Alshon Jeffery — in the room for the Eagles in 2020 is the status of Jason Kelce. Will he be back?
The Eagles starting center, one of the very best at the position over the past decade, was non-committal at the end of last season about whether he would return for his 10th NFL season. Kelce had considered hanging up his cleats and calling it a career in 2018, then the 32-year-old signed a one-year contract extension that keeps him in Philadelphia through the 2021 season. That means Kelce should be back in midnight green in 2020.
Contract or not, Kelce left the door open for possible retirement after the Eagles’ playoff loss to Seattle in January. He never said one way or the other if he was definitely coming back and seemed to linger in the post-game locker room a little longer than usual. More importantly, Kelce never commented publicly on the situation.
Kelce never spoke to reporters, only fueling the rumors that he may be done.
Kelce Drops Huge Clue During Radio Interview
Jason Kelce was a guest on SportsRadio 94 WIP’S Morning Show on Tuesday where he left an interesting nugget about his future. When co-host Angelo Cataldi asked Kelce a question about Jason Peters, the Pro-Bowl center said: “It’s hard to believe that I might be playing a season without Jason Peters on the team with me.”
It’s an interesting answer considering the uncertainty surrounding Kelce. He purposely used the words “I” and “me” so it sure sounds like he intends to play for the Eagles in 2020. It’s also important to note what else he said about Peters.
While Kelce was quick to applaud second-year left tackle Andre Dillard’s skill set and potential, he made a plea for Peters coming back. Remember, Peters is still a free agent.
“For Jason, I’m still holding out hope that the team and he can work something out,” Kelce told Cataldi. “He’s a guy that took me under his wing early on. That’s one thing that’s always been underrated about Jason, that he’s always been open to working with younger guys and developing players and developing that togetherness mindset that is crucial for a team.”
Does Andre Dillard Possess Desire to be Great?
There has been a bull’s eye attached to Andre Dillard in recent weeks, especially after reports surfaced about the left tackle being soft. Maybe he doesn’t have the mental capacity to handle the stress of starting in the NFL. His body of work is incomplete after playing in four games last year, with mixed results.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman seemed unwilling to close the door on Jason Peters at his end-of-year press conference. Then, the team decided to let the veteran left tackle pursue other opportunities in free agency. While he remains unsigned, it certainly seems like Philadelphia is ready to turn the gig over to Dillard.
But, is he ready? His teammate on the offensive line, Jason Kelce, offered his opinion.
“Yeah, we’ll find out,” Kelce told SportsRadio 94 WIP. “He has all the physical attributes you could want in a left tackle. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s athletic. He’s fast. He’s smart. He has all the attributes necessary to be a successful player.”
Kelce wasn’t done. There was a but coming.
“But, at the end of the day, that’s only once piece of it,” Kelce continued. “You know, the will to win and the desire to be great, all the intangibles that are required to be a great player in this league. That’s the stuff you never find out until the person is thrown into the fire on a regular basis.”
If Dillard is indeed the starting left tackle in Week 1, Kelce and the Eagles will find out rather quickly if the second-year tackle is equipped to handle the pressure. Philadelphia will open the 2020 season on the road in a hostile environment.
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