Mr. Popularity Brent Celek finally living Super Bowl dream

Mr. Popularity Brent Celek finally living Super Bowl dream

In his 11th season, Brent Celek is finally on his way to a Super Bowl.

The most popular guy in the Eagles' locker room ended his personal eight-year wait to win a playoff game last weekend and on Sunday, in his 183rd career game, he walked off the field at the Linc knowing the Super Bowl was next.

"He’s one of my closest friends on the team," Jason Kelce said. "What he’s been through in his career — he’s the ultimate unselfish guy and he really represents what this team is about, maybe better than anybody.

"For a guy to have been with an organization this long and finally get an opportunity like we’re going to get in the next two weeks, I’m very happy for him."

Celek isn't a big-time receiving tight end anymore, but he is still solid at the point of attack and can catch a ball here or there when he has to. He's also one of this team's most passionate leaders and hardest workers. He's really an icon in this organization.

"It means a lot, but honestly, we’re not done yet," Celek said. “We’ve got to keep this thing going. We’ve got another game to play and I think everyone in that locker room understands that.

"This is not like we’ve reached our destination. We’re getting there but we’ve got to finish what we started."

The Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 last weekend and the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 on Sunday to advance to their third Super Bowl. They'll face the New England Patriots in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

Celek said he never doubted that one day he would get a chance to play on the biggest stage in sports.

“I’ve always been a positive guy, always thinking positive," Celek said. "The chemistry that we’ve had on this team this entire season has been absolutely phenomenal. Things have been going our way.

"And when you have fans like that who have your back — this is a tough place to play. This is a tough place to play."

In Celek's only previous NFC Championship Game, the Eagles lost an excruciating 32-25 game to the Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz., in 2008.

Celek caught 10 passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns in that game, which the Eagles led until late in the fourth quarter. He hasn't been the Eagles' primary tight end since Zach Ertz was drafted in the second round back in 2013.

Ertz had eight grabs for 93 yards on Sunday in the win over the Vikings, the most yards by an Eagles tight end in a playoff game since Keith Jackson had 116 against the Redskins in a 1990 wild-card loss at the Vet.

“Brent's been huge for my development as a tight end," Ertz said. "You hear horror stories as a rookie about veteran guys being mean to high draft picks and never helping them.

"Nothing could have been farther from the case with Brent. I owe a lot of my success to him and I’m very grateful for that. He brings a different kind of energy to our the room. It wouldn’t be the same without him.

"I love playing with him," Ertz said. "I hope he never retires. I think he’s got a few more good years left in him, but that’s his decision."

Celek was originally a fifth-round pick out of Cincinnati back in 2007.

Only three players in franchise history have played more games in an Eagles uniform: David Akers, Brian Dawkins and Harold Carmichael.

“Brent Celek — one of the classiest human beings you’ll ever have on a team or in an organization no matter what he’s doing," Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said. "I’m really glad he’s a part of this.”

Brian Dawkins stepping down from full-time role with Eagles

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Brian Dawkins stepping down from full-time role with Eagles

Just a couple months before he’s set to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Brian Dawkins is leaving his full-time role with the Eagles. 

The Eagles announced the news on Tuesday evening, saying Dawkins will continue to be a consultant for the team, “while also pursuing other endeavors including entrepreneurship and philanthropy.” Dawkins told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn that he plans on starting a non-profit company as a part of that work.

Dawkins, 44, released the following statement: 

“I want to thank Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, Don Smolenski and Coach Pederson for blessing me with the opportunity to return to this great organization. This is a special time in Philadelphia Eagles history and I am grateful to have been a part of the team’s first Super Bowl championship — something I wanted to help bring to this great city, one way or another. I will always cherish the relationships I have within the building and it was a privilege to work side-by-side with so many great people. 

“I have put a lot of time in prayer into this decision, and after talking it over with my family and listening to the Lord, I am being called in a different direction as I take the next step in my life and career. Although I am leaving my full-time role in football operations, I will always be a part of the Eagles family and the Philadelphia community. I look forward to continuing to work with the organization as a consultant while I also pursue other endeavors that are extremely important to me and my family’s purpose to inspire hope and increase the minds, bodies and souls of so many to come.”

Dawkins was made a full-time employee with the Eagles in August of 2016 and was given the title of “Football Operations Executive” after a nine-month stint working in the scouting department. At the time, it was explained that his role would be to help with player development. Aside from that, it wasn’t uncommon to see Dawkins spending time with defensive backs on the field after practice, either. 

Speaking on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Quick Slants last February, Dawkins didn’t shoot down the idea of one day becoming an NFL GM, which undoubtedly had Eagles fans picturing the day when their favorite player would be running the franchise. At the time, he said he didn’t want to limit himself to anything. It looks like that day isn’t coming … at least not anytime soon. 

The Eagles released the following statement on Tuesday evening: 

“Brian Dawkins will always be a Philadelphia Eagle. We greatly appreciate all of Brian’s contributions to our football operations department over the last two seasons and we are excited that he will continue to help us going forward. As an NFL Hall of Famer and a Philadelphia Eagles legend, Brian is able to provide valuable perspective and draw on his extensive experience in the NFL while working in our front office. Our doors will always be open to him and we will support him in anything he does — both professionally and personally — as he continues his post-playing career.”

Eagles' Paul Worrilow out for season with torn ACL

Eagles' Paul Worrilow out for season with torn ACL

On the first day of spring workouts, the Eagles have already lost a player for the season. 

Veteran linebacker Paul Worrilow collided with a teammate during a 7-on-7 red zone drill on Tuesday and the news isn’t good. 

Worrilow is out for the season, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. ESPN and NFL Network first reported Worrilow's season was over. 

Based on Worrilow's reaction earlier in the day, that’s not much of a surprise. As soon as Worrilow went down after colliding with Corey Nelson on the pass to Donnel Pumphrey, Worrilow clutched at his right knee and began to pound his fist on the ground. 

The entire NovaCare Complex’s practice bubble became silent while players took a knee and waited for the cart to arrive after the music was turned down almost completely. Worrilow’s right leg was stabilized by an aircast as he was helped onto the cart. 

Worrilow, 28, was signed to a one-year deal worth $790,000 this offseason. He was brought in to provide some depth. 

Worrilow, a Wilmington, Delaware, native, started 43 games for the Falcons from 2013-15 before becoming a rotational player for Atlanta in 2016 and then the Lions last year. He started eight games in Detroit in 2017.