Brent Celek still chasing dream in potential final season with Eagles

Brent Celek still chasing dream in potential final season with Eagles

Brent Celek is going to savor every rep at practice, treasure every day with his teammates, enjoy every last moment in meetings.
Because he knows this could very well be the end.
“I’m trying to have the attitude like, 'This could be it for me,'" Celek said after practice Wednesday. "I think when you have that attitude you think differently and you take advantage of things a little bit more. You pay attention to the details a little bit more. I’m just trying to have a different attitude about it."
Celek, now in his 11th training camp with the Eagles and entering the final year of his contract, looks no different from the 22-year-old rookie fifth-round draft pick that made the team in 2007 ahead of Lee Vickers.
Working mainly against linebackers and safeties who were in middle school when he began his Eagles career, Celek is enjoying a fine training camp as he approaches his 33rd birthday.
He's no longer the big-time receiving threat he once was, but he's still the Eagles' best blocking tight end and a respected locker room voice.
And he's going to make sure he enjoys every minute of his 11th — and perhaps final — NFL season.
"I played with a lot of guys here that were some of my best friends that are no longer here and I know a lot of them wish they could still go out there on game day and still do things," he said. "I do it for that, I do it for these guys in the locker room. I love this game.
“Shoot, this is my dream, to play in the NFL, so any opportunity you get you take advantage of it."
Celek has played 159 games in an Eagles uniform, seventh most in franchise history. If he plays all 16 games this year — and he's only missed one game in 10 seasons — he'll move up to fifth place, behind only David Akers, Brian Dawkins, Harold Carmichael and presumably Jon Dorenbos.
Chuck Bednarik is the only player who's played his entire career with the Eagles to play more games.
"I’m trying to enjoy every moment of it because it could be taken away at any moment," he said. "Especially where I’m at with my age. I’m trying to make the most of every opportunity."
Celek began his career backing up L.J. Smith, then, from 2009 through 2013, he averaged over 50 catches for about 700 yards, numbers only five other tight ends matched during that five-year period. Now he's a blocking specialist, although he can still catch the football and trample a couple guys when he gets the chance.
In all, Celek has 385 catches for 4,868 yards and 30 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in catches, eighth in yards and 12th in TDs in Eagles history.
“I think the biggest thing that stands out to me about Brent Celek is that he’s missed one game in his career. In 11 years," long-time friend and teammate Jason Kelce said. "He played one year with a torn labrum and both of his hips were screwed up.
"You want to talk about a guy who does anything he can for the team, goes out there and plays through everything, practices through everything, and I think guys who take mentalities like that, those guys stick around for a while because the organization respects you, the other players respect you.
"He’s just a special guy. Not only is he a great player, he’s special with the work ethic and leadership he brings every day. It just means a lot to us.”
Eleven years in, Celek is healthy and fit, but he said it takes more and more each year to stay that way.
He said he still uses a lot of the fundamentals of the sports science program Chip Kelly brought to the NovaCare Complex in 2013.
“I still feel like I can do a great job out there, I’ve just got to do a lot of extra stuff off the football field," he said.
"I have to. If I don’t stretch before I go to bed or don’t wake up early and stretch, work out, get my body feeling right, I won’t last very long, I can tell you that. But when I do those things I feel great, so I’ve just got to stay on it. The older you get, the more you have to work at it to get back to feeling good."
The last Eagle to play over 100 games and never spend a day with another organization was linebacker Byron Evans, who played 113 games from 1987 through 1994. Before that, it was Mike Quick, who played 101 games from 1982 through 1990.
Celek, whose three-year, $13 million contract is up after this year, would love to join that elite group.
“That would be ideal, I would love that," he said. "I love this organization, everything they’ve done for me. They’ve been outstanding. Now it’s time for me to give back and let’s try to win something here. Because that’s what matters.
"The city deserves that, this organization deserves that, and it’s my job to help lead this team to do that, so I’ve got a big job to do."
Celek is the only position player left from the 2008 run to the NFC Championship Game, so he's the only position player remaining who's actually won a postseason game as an Eagle.
That was nine years ago.
“When you go to the championship game your second year, you’re thinking, ‘OK, we’ve got a great football team, we’re going to be back here and do this again,'" Celek said.
"But you can’t take those things for granted. You’ve got to work like you’ve never been there before. We’ve got to do everything in our power to get back there because that’s all that matters. This city only cares about Super Bowl. They don’t care about anything else.”

Report: Donovan McNabb named in NFL sexual harassment lawsuit

AP Images

Report: Donovan McNabb named in NFL sexual harassment lawsuit

Donovan McNabb on Monday night was mentioned in a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment at the NFL Network by ex-players and a former executive producer, according to a report by Bloomberg.

McNabb, along with ex-NFL players Heath Evans, Marshall Faulk and Ike Taylor, is being accused of sexual harassment by Jami Cantor, a former female colleague at the NFL Network. Cantor's allegations are part of a wrongful termination suit filed against NFL Enterprises in which she accuses the players-turned-analysts and former executive producer Eric Weinberger of the misconduct, citing multiple incidents. Cantor was fired in October 2016, according to the report.

Evans, Faulk and Taylor have been suspended by the NFL Network while an investigation is made into the accusations.

McNabb, the former Eagles quarterback who turned 41 years old last month, is no longer working for the NFL Network and has most recently been featured on ESPN as an analyst. According to the complaint, via the report, McNabb texted Cantor explicit comments.

Per Bloomberg, McNabb representatives did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

McNabb played 11 seasons for the Eagles from 1999 to 2009 and is the franchise's all-time leader in yards passing (32,873) and touchdown passes (216).

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones cleared to practice

Eagles rookie CB Sidney Jones cleared to practice

On a day that will be remembered most for a player the Eagles lost to an injury (see story), they did learn that they are getting another player back after a long injury rehab.

The Eagles are finally going to get a look this week at rookie second-round pick Sidney Jones at practice. Whether he actually gets into a football game this year is still in doubt.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said that nine months after he blew out his Achilles and eight months after the Eagles drafted him, Jones has finally been medically cleared to practice and will participate to some extent Wednesday when the Eagles get back to work following their win over the Rams Sunday in Los Angeles.

“We're just to the point of just want to see him out there running around, doing football activities outside of the normal workouts that he's been doing,” Pederson said Monday. “Just really changing direction and doing more football work this week.”

Jones tore his left Achilles during his pro day workout on March 11 and has spent the entire season so far on the reserve-non football injury list, which is for players with preexisting conditions dating before the first day of practice.

The Eagles had a window running from Week 7 until this week to activate Jones for practice, and once he practices on Wednesday, they’ll have 21 days to either activate him to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the year.

The Eagles have the luxury of taking their time with Jones, thanks to the play of starting corners Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby, slot corner Patrick Robinson and fourth corner Rasul Douglas.

Before his injury, Jones was projected as a first-round draft pick. The Eagles got him with the 43rd pick, but even if he doesn’t play until opening day next year, he will still be only 22 years old and under contract through 2020.

Jones had nine interceptions, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, 8½ tackles for loss and 145 tackles in 40 career games for the University of Washington.

It remains to be seen where Jones will fit in next year, but Robinson, although he has played well, is due to become a free agent this offseason and turns 31 in September.

Douglas and Jones are signed through 2020, Mills through 2019 and Darby through 2018.