Jason Kelce Offers Bold Insight on Eagles Signing All-Pro LT

Jason Kelce

Getty Jason Kelce has been to three Pro Bowls and qualified for three straight All-Pro teams. He is one of the best centers in the NFL.

There is a new rumor every day involving Jason Peters and the Eagles. Now his All-Pro teammate on the offensive line has entered the ongoing debate.

Jason Kelce, the team’s undisputed heart and soul, was asked about Peters possibly coming back to Philadelphia on Thursday during a video conference call. The 32-year-old center hinted that his preference was to see Peters return at left tackle. The man known as The Bodyguard has been the “best player” that Kelce has ever played with in his NFL career. He nurtured Kelce as a sixth-round draft pick in 2011 and continues to teach him things on the regular.

“I don’t know what is going to dictate that decision,” Kelce said when asked about Peters coming back in 2020. “Jason Peters has had an unbelievable career and he’s the best player I’ve ever played with so I always love to play with Jason Peters.”

Kelce is one of the most respected players on the roster, a 10-year veteran who has qualified for three Pro Bowls and earned three consecutive All-Pro nods. He’s an extremely loud and strong voice for Eagles fans, too. That being said, Kelce has no say on personnel decisions.

“That decision is going to come down and it’s not something I’m too worried about,” Kelce said. “I think that regardless of who’s out there, we’re in a good situation from an offensive line standpoint. We got great coaches and I’m fired up to play some football.”

Andre Dillard is currently slated on the depth chart to take over at left tackle. The former first-round pick out of Washington State shadowed Peters in 2019 and the results were a mixed bag. The Eagles let Peters walk in free agency but the team hasn’t ruled out a reunion. It’s an idea Kelce seems open to.

“It is hard to imagine playing without Jason Peters and the personality and the guy that he’s been for this organization but at some point, it’s going to be the end for all of us,” Kelce said. “I don’t know if that’s this year. I don’t know what’s going to happen and again I’d love to play with the guy again but this is in the hands of people who are making important decisions and cap decisions and all these other things. It’s way over my head. I’ll leave it at that.”

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All-Pro Center Addresses Retirement Rumors Again

Kelce’s tongue-in-cheek retirement announcement, the one where he retired from arm wrestling, left fans relieved and laughing at the same time. The All-Pro center admitted he was having fun with it.

The fact he had to make any kind of statement about the matter was surprising to him. Kelce said he let the Eagles know that he was coming back in 2020 midway through last season. He would never “spring” that decision on the organization out of nowhere.

“I can’t say this enough. When I have decided to retire, you guys will know and it will be a very loud and emphatic statement,” Kelce said. “And it’s going to be made most likely, barring some kind of physical ailment that comes up during the season or something like that, the retirement announcement is going to happen before training camp, before free agency, before the draft.”

But Kelce admitted truth to the rumor of him contemplating his life after football. The NFL season is a grind, a grueling 16-game war of attrition on players’ bodies. It wears on guys both physically and mentally, and Kelce sounded like a man nearing the end of the line.

“It’s not just grueling physically, it’s grueling mentally, with the energy and the effort required and that takes its toll,” Kelce said. “It’s hard to continue to do that and you want to reflect after you’ve calmed down and gotten back to normal to see if you can do that again. And to see if you can give that same energy and emotion that is required to play at a high level to your teammates and to your coaches and to your city.”

For Kelce, that intense desire and emotion continue to burn within.

“I’m very much excited and can’t wait to get going again with the guys,” he said.

Is Dillard Ready to Take the Reins at Left Tackle?

Dillard’s mental toughness has been questioned in recent weeks. It has been rumored to be the leading cause for the Eagles reportedly trying to lure Peters back for one more season. Again, the speculation shouldn’t be taken as fact.

However, Kelce did share one interesting nugget about Dillard. He was fast to praise Dillard’s physical abilities, like his “quick twitch” and athleticism but shared one small weakness in his game.

“One weakness to his game is power,” Kelce said. “And it wasn’t that big of a weakness because we needed to go out and win games with him and we did that.”

Dillard could actually benefit from the weird offseason since he can focus on working out and adding muscle. As Kelce pointed out, you can’t make guys faster — and Dillard has great natural speed — but you can make guys stronger in the gym. And the 24-year-old can show how powerful is when they put the pads on at training camp.

“To be honest, OTAs and minicamps are important but the biggest thing for returning guys and Andre being one of them, is going to be training camp and physically going against guys in pads,” Kelce said. “Andre needs to continue to get reps in and get more one-on-ones and play in preseason games and live games.”

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