Eagles

Jason Kelce delivers passionate speech we'll remember in 100 years

Jason Kelce delivers passionate speech we'll remember in 100 years

Dressed in a full bedazzled green and purple Mummers costume, Eagles center Jason Kelce made the most impassioned speech from Thursday's Super Bowl champions parade. 

Of course he did. 

With his teammates, coaches and executives looking on from the art museum steps, Kelce decided to shout a little bit about underdogs in a raspy WWE tone of voice. For the world champion Eagles, the title of underdogs goes way beyond a few guys in rubber masks in the playoffs. It's something they lived. All of them. 

"It's been slowly building throughout the course of the year," Kelce told NBC Sports Philadelphia shortly after his wild speech wrapped up. "Lane (Johnson) and Chris (Long) wearing the underdog masks, it really hit me."

When asked if he knows his speech will go down in history, Kelce said he put a lot of energy into it and needed a nap. He also called Thursday one of the most incredible days of his life. 

His speech certainly made it even more special. 

Here it is, in its entirety: 

"Philadelphiaaaa!! If you love the Eagles let me get a hell yeah! If you love the Philadelphia Eagles, let me get a hell yeah! I'm going to take a second to talk to you about underdogs. I know Lane and Chris just talked about this but I don't think it's been beaten home enough.

"Howie Roseman, a few years ago, relinquished all control pretty much in this organization. He was put in the side of the building where I didn't see him for over a year. Two years ago, when they made a decision, he came out of there a different man. He came out of there with a purpose and a drive to make this possible. And I saw a different Howie Roseman. An underdog!

"Doug Pederson. When Doug Pederson was hired, he was rated as the worst coaching hire by a lot of freaking analysts out there in the media. This past offseason, some clown named Mike Lombardi told him that he was the least qualified head coach in the NFL! Doug Pederson! The man who went for it on fourth down in the Super Bowl with a trick play! He wasn't playing just to be mediocre. He's playing for a Super Bowl. And it don't stop with him. It does not stop with him. 

"Jason Peters was told he was too old. Didn't have it anymore. Before he got here, he was the best freaking tackle in the NFL. Big V was told he didn't have it. Stefen Wisnieski ain't good enough. Jason Kelce's too small. Lane Johnson can't lay off the juice. Brandon Brooks has anxiety. 

"Carson Wentz didn't go to a Division I school. Nick Foles don't got it. Corey Clement's too slow. LeGarrette Blount ain't got it anymore. Jay Ajayi can't stay healthy. Torrey Smith can't catch. Nelson Agholor can't catch. Zach Ertz can't block. Brent Celek's too old. 

"Brandon Graham was drafted too high. Vinny Curry ain't got it. Beau Allen can't fit the scheme. Mychal Kendricks can't fit the scheme. Nigel Bradham can't catch. Jalen Mills can't cover. Patrick Robinson can't cover. It's the whole team!!!

"This entire organization is a bunch of driven men to accomplish something. We're all a bunch of underdogs and you know what underdogs is? It's a hungry dog. And Jeff Stoutland has had this in our building for five years. It's a quote in the O-line room that has stood on the wall for the last five years: Hungry dogs run faster. And that's this team! We wanted it more! All the players, all the coaches, front office. Jeffrey Lurie, everybody wanted it more. And that's why we're up here today. That's why we're the first team in Eagles history to hold that freaking trophy. 

"You know who the biggest underdog is? It's y'all, Philadelphia. For 52 years, y'all have been waiting for this. You want to talk about underdog? You want to talk about a hungry dog? For the last 52 years, you have been starved of this championship. Everybody wonders why we're so mean. Everybody wonders why the Philadelphia Eagles don't have the nicest fans. If I don't eat breakfast, I'm f------ pissed off!

"No one wanted us! No one liked this team. No analyst liked this team to win the Super Bowl and nobody likes our fans. And you know what? I've just heard one of the best chants from this past day. And it's one of my favorite and it's new and I hope y'all learn it. Because I'm about to drop it right now. You know what I got to say? To all those people that doubted us, to all those people who counted us out and to everybody who said we couldn't get it's done. What my man Jay AJayi just said: 'F--- em!'

"(Singing) No one likes us, no one likes us, no one likes us, we don't care. We're from Philly, f------ Philly, no one likes us, we don't care. No one likes us, no one likes us, we don't care. We're from Philly, f------ Philly, no one likes us, we don't care. E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!"

Eagles OTAs Day 1 observations: Linebacker suffers serious injury

Eagles OTAs Day 1 observations: Linebacker suffers serious injury

The Eagles began their OTAs on Tuesday morning, but were forced to do so under the roof of the practice bubble because of rain.

Things were a little cramped in there, but the Eagles were able to finish their 1½-hour practice by 1 p.m. The only two guys who didn’t report for OTAs were Michael Bennett and Darren Sproles (see story).

There was plenty of sloppiness in the first session, which is to be expected. 

Here are 10 observations from Tuesday: 

1. The Eagles already lost a player to a significant injury on Day 1. During 7-on-7 red zone drills, linebacker Paul Worrilow went down in serious pain. He instantly grabbed at his knee and then slammed his fist on the ground repeatedly. The music lowered and the entire bubble became silent as his teammates took a knee and watched. His knee was steadied in an aircast and he was taken off the field on a cart. 

Worrilow, 28, signed with the Eagles on a one-year deal this offseason after one year in Detroit. He played the first four years of his career in Atlanta. He’s from Wilmington, Delaware. 

2. Carson Wentz looked good (see story). Sure, he’s still recovering from that torn left ACL, but the Eagles’ franchise quarterback was able to do at least some individual work on Tuesday. Once offensive drills, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s started, Foles took over, getting all the first-team reps. 

But just seeing Wentz on the field, even with that knee brace, was a pretty good sign. His footwork looked solid. 

After his work for the day was done, Wentz was still engaged and took off that knee brace. He was jogging around without it. 

3. A few other injured guys were back too. Jordan Hicks (Achilles) and Jason Peters (ACL) practiced on Tuesday in a limited fashion, but neither participated in team drills. Brandon Graham (ankle), Mychal Kendricks (ankle) and Tim Jernigan (back) were not at practice, but Derek Barnett, who reportedly had sports hernia surgery this offseason, was on the field. 

With Peters not participating in team drills, Halapoulivaati Vaitai was the Eagles’ first-team left tackle. Without Hicks and Kendricks, the Eagles at linebacker went with Nigel Bradham, Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill. 

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata didn’t practice, but was out there. Fletcher Cox and Destiny Vaeao were the first-team defensive tackles. 

4. Alshon Jeffery (rotator cuff surgery) was on the field, but not participating. Without him, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins were the Eagles’ top two outside receivers and Nelson Agholor lined up in the slot. Markus Wheaton and Shelton Gibson got run with the second team. 

5. Speaking of Gibson … good start for the second year player. He made some tough catches on Tuesday, which is important. He got off to such a terrible start last spring and summer that it took him a long time to catch up. He’s the front runner for one of those last receiver spots this summer. 

6. The Eagles’ top cornerbacks today were Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills outside, which second-year player Sidney Jones in the slot. The Eagles could eventually decide to make Mills move outside to inside, but for now Jones gets a chance to play inside. It’s really a different position, but so far, so good. He was able to stick with Agholor during drills. 

7. The first play of today’s practice was a good mood-setter. Foles threw a short pass to Wallace and Darby put a little shot on him as he tried to get to the ball. By the way, not a great day for Foles. He had a couple underthrows; one was picked by Mills and one by Jones. 

8. Rookie Avonte Maddox played outside corner in college, but his size (5-9, 184) had people thinking he’d play slot corner in the pros. The Eagles seem to think that’s possible too. He got run in the slot after the starters were off the field. 

9. During 7-on-7s, cornerback De’Vante Bausby made a pretty great play to intercept a Nate Sudfeld pass intended for rookie Dallas Goedert. But on the next snap, Sudfeld recovered and found Goedert in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. 

Goedert looked pretty good in his first practice but is still behind Richard Rodgers on the depth chart, it seems. Zach Ertz and Rodgers were on the field for two-tight end sets with the first team.

10. Rookie rugby player … sorry … offensive tackle Jordan Mailata is obviously a work in progress. He lined up at third-team left tackle and grabbed fellow rookie Josh Sweat around the neck as he flew past him. That’s a hold, Jordan. Can’t do that. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: Assistant OL coach and former NFL offensive lineman Eugene Chung has always acted as the Eagles’ MIKE linebacker for the scout team during practices. On Tuesday he showed off his range, playing the SAM. 

Carson Wentz participates in Eagles practice during OTAs

Carson Wentz participates in Eagles practice during OTAs

Just 5½ months after he tore up his knee in Los Angeles, Carson Wentz participated in Eagles practice Tuesday morning, firing passes to ballboys and assistant coaches in the first set of drills at the start of spring OTAs.

It looked like he hadn’t missed a day.

Wentz, wearing a brace on his injured left knee, participated only in individual drills and sat out the rest of practice.

But he looked comfortable and confident taking his drops, he delivered the football with his familiar zip and if it weren't for the brace you wouldn't have known he was coming back from a devastating injury.

It was a huge step for the 25-year-old quarterback, who was having an All-Pro 2017 season before he got hurt.

Does this mean he’ll be ready for opening day in 3½ months?

Still too early to tell. But just seeing him out on the practice field wearing a red No. 11 jersey and throwing the football around sure was encouraging.

“Mental aspect is probably just as important as the physical, I think, when you’re coming back from these injuries,” Wentz said before practice.

“I’m just learning how to trust it. Trust your knee, trust your movement, all of those things. And that comes over time, and every day it just gets a little better. A little more trust, a little more faith in it.

“At the same time, you’ve got to be smart. You’ve got to be smart with what the doctors are saying. But I feel like I’ve made really good strides mentally and physcally and I like where I’m at.”

The Eagles will open training camp in late July, so that’s about two months away. The first preseason game is Aug. 9, which is about 2½ months away. The regular-season opener is Sept. 6 against the Falcons at the Linc.

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will take all the first-team reps this summer and then step aside whenever Wentz is ready.

Wentz said he’s tempted to play the calendar game — will he be ready in time for the Falcons? But he said for the most part he resists.

“You do sometimes, but at the end of the day you can’t get caught up in that,” he said.

“Even when you’re healthy — ‘OK, Week 1, you’ve got that circled,’ or whatever. It’s always just a one-day-at-a-time mentality and approach and especially now I’ve got to avoid getting ahead of myself.”

Wentz threw 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions in 13 games last year, going 11-2 before giving way to Foles, who led the Eagles to the Super Bowl title.

Wentz admits he’s antsy to get back to football but said he has to avoid the temptation to do too much too soon. 

“Any time you’re rehabbing from any sort of injury, you’ve got to be careful,” he said.

“There’s days you feel great and want to push it more and there’s days it’s a little sore, it’s a little tired, whatever, but it’s just part of the process of coming back from an injury. 

“You’ve just gotta trust what the trainers are saying, what the doctors are saying, and keep being smart with it.” 

Wentz is the leader of a large group of Eagles that finished last year on injured reserve and were forced to watch Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis from the sidelines. 

Jason Peters. Darren Sproles. Jordan Hicks. Chris Maragos. 

Wentz said that group’s hunger is going to help drive the entire team in 2018. 

“With injured guys, guys that didn’t get a chance to play in that game, there’s an extra sense of motivation, an extra sense of not letting everybody be complacent,” Wentz said. 

“On the flip side of that, I know the leaders that we have. I know the guys in that locker room, the character of that locker room, and I don’t expect it to be an issue regardless. I think any time we have the veteran leadership that we have, that’s not really a concern of mine or really the rest of the guys because nobody’s going to ever settle for anything around here.

“But I don’t think it hurts that we have the other guys like myself with a little chip on their shoulder, a little extra motivation to get back out there.”