Eagles

Jason Kelce explains why he's returning for another season with the Eagles

Jason Kelce explains why he's returning for another season with the Eagles

Jason Kelce sat back and matter-of-factly listed the injuries that struck him last year.

“Last year I played through a Grade 2 MCL (knee) sprain and a broken foot and a torn elbow I had a brace on,” he said. “The entire left side of my body.”

Kelce is 31 now and 110 games into his NFL career. No wonder he took stock when the season ended and pondered whether he wanted to put his body through the rigors of another NFL season.

End of the season, you kind of wait for your body to get healthy and step back (before deciding), especially for older guys because the stress on your body is a little more. It was very, very clear that I wanted to keep playing at the point I decided to (decide my future). I don’t know what it’s going to be like when I make the decision not to be playing, but I got some really good advice from a friend of mine (who said), ‘When in doubt, don’t.’ So I stuck to that.

Kelce, who’s made either the Pro Bowl or all-pro four of the last five years, will be back this fall for his ninth NFL season.

On Monday afternoon, the legendary star of the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade spoke about what went into that decision.

“All the reasons to keep playing are still there,” he said. “You like playing the game, you like being around the guys, you love competing, battling together with people you care about. All that stuff is still very strong in my mind.

“At this point, there’s still too many positives and not enough negatives to really seriously step away from the game.”

Kelce is the first Eagle to earn all-pro honors in back-to-back seasons since Brain Dawkins in 2001 and 2002 and the first offensive player since Keith Jackson in 1989 and 1990.

He’s an all-time great Eagle, and he said at this point in his career, he’ll revisit whether or not to continue playing every offseason.

Some guys want to play till the wheels fall off, some guys want to think about life after football. The bottom line is you want to do what you’re comfortable with and what you’re happy with and for me, it’s a simple cost-benefit analysis:

How much joy do I derive from this game? What’s going to happen if I continue to play? Where’s my body at, where’s any mind at?

There’s so many different factors that go into it, but the biggest thing is I know I love doing this and I know it makes me happy. I know that I enjoy being a part of this group and these guys and this team and that made the decision very easy.

You know that time is approaching. Ultimately I’m still very much into playing.

Kelce missed most of the 2012 season with a torn MCL and ACL and missed four games in 2014 with a sports hernia.

Other than that, he’s manned center for the Eagles since the days of Michael Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha, Ronnie Brown, Moise Fokou and Colt Anderson.

It’s hard to imagine an Eagles season without him. And for at least another year, we don’t have to.

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Eagles get open roster spot for training camp after Tyreek Durwell's surprise retirement

Eagles get open roster spot for training camp after Tyreek Durwell's surprise retirement

Less than two weeks before the start of training camp, the Eagles suddenly find themselves with an open 90-man roster spot. 

On Monday, offensive tackle Tyreek Burwell announced his retirement from the NFL, via his official Instagram account. 

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Man it’s hard for me to sit here and put this into words but after careful consideration I’ve made the decision to retire from the NFL. This journey has been unbelievable! I’ve been blessed to have been able to play this game since I was 7 years old. Playing in the NFL has been a dream come true and this game has taught and given me so much. I want to thank GOD especially for without you none of this would be possible. I want to thank my fiancé and my family for being my number 1 supporters and my motivation. I also want to thank my friends, teammates, my agency (@mbk_sports ) and everyone that I’ve crossed paths with that has helped me along this journey. Thank you to the Chargers, Colts and Eagles for giving me the opportunity to continue to play the game that I love. I’m excited to see what the rest of this journey brings! ✌🏾 #retired #NFL #thankyouGOD

A post shared by Tyreek Burwell (@tyreekburwell) on

For some of you, this begs the question: Who is Tyreek Burwell? 

Well, the Eagles signed him to a futures deal in January and he was with the team this spring, when he wore No. 66. Burwell, 27, previously spent time with the Chargers and Colts and played in 15 NFL games dating back to 2015 when he went undrafted out of Cincinnati. 

Even with that experience, there was very little chance Burwell was going to make the Eagles’ 53-man roster in 2019. 

But Burwell’s decision before training camp will give someone else a chance to prove himself and possibly make the Eagles’ roster this spring. While most roster spots are spoken for, there’s alway a chance for players buried on the depth chart. Just think back to last year when receiver DeAndre Carter joined camp late and still made the Eagles’ 53-man roster. Even player No. 90 has a chance if they play the right position and show up during practices and in the meeting room. 

The Eagles won’t have very long to get a new player signed. The team is scheduled to report in a little over a week on July 24 and the first full practice will be on July 25. 

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Possible trouble brewing in Cowboys land with reports about RB Ezekiel Elliott possibly holding out

Possible trouble brewing in Cowboys land with reports about RB Ezekiel Elliott possibly holding out

Off the field issues aside, Ezekiel Elliott is clearly one of the top running backs in the NFL. The problem for the Cowboys is that he wants to get paid like it.

According to PFT’s Mike Florio, Elliott has “privately said that he will hold out of training camp unless he gets a new contract.”

Since the Cowboys report to training camp on July 25, this could be a problem very soon.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! reporter Charles Robinson says Elliott hasn’t made a decision about a holdout yet.

But it’s clearly on Zeke’s mind. And he clearly wants a contract extension.

For a team that still has to pay Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper — both more pressing since they’ll be free agents after the 2019 season — this could be tricky. It’s hard to imagine the Cowboys giving Zeke a big contract before figuring out Dak’s new deal.

Elliott, 23, might have a problem staying out of trouble off the field, but he creates a whole lot of trouble for opposing teams on it. There’s really no denying his talent. In his first three NFL seasons, he has rushed for over 4,000 yards and has over 5,000 in all-purpose yards. Just 11 players in NFL history have more all-purpose yards in their first three seasons.

And because of that success and because he knows the Cowboys will rely heavily on him this season and next, Elliott is trying to maximize his value. He’s trying to get some coin in his pocket now before that value potentially plummets because usage or injury. That part makes sense.

The problem for Elliott is that the Cowboys probably don’t feel highly motivated to pay him just yet. With his fourth contract year in 2019 and his fifth-year option year in 2020, the Cowboys hold his rights for the next two seasons at cap numbers of $7.9 million and $9 million over the next two seasons. Based on his rookie contract AVY, Elliott is the 10th highest-paid running back in football. That’s a steal and based on recent history, no team should be rushing to pay top-tier money for a running back.

Elliott won’t become a free agent until after the 2020 season, so I definitely get why he’s trying to secure his financial future before the Boys run him into the ground over the next two seasons. He doesn’t seem to have a ton of leverage because of how far he is from free agency — he’s not going to sit for two years — but we saw how his suspension sort of wrecked the Cowboys’ entire 2017 season. Now, the Cowboys are coming off a division title and have serious championship hopes this year; if they’re going to be a great team, they’re going to need Zeke to do it.

The Eagles don’t play the Cowboys until Oct. 20 and it would be pretty shocking if Elliott isn’t playing by then. The Birds obviously don’t have a running back as good as Elliott, but they have cost controlled options and they already figured out how to pay their franchise quarterback.

The messier this gets for Zeke and the Cowboys, the better it is for the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East.

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