Jason Kelce

Photos of Eagles linemen tailgating naked in ESPN's Body Issue will inspire an entire fan base

Photos of Eagles linemen tailgating naked in ESPN's Body Issue will inspire an entire fan base

The Eagles offensive linemen posing for ESPN's the Body Issue epitomizes what they're going for in highlighting all shapes and sizes.

Every body does indeed tell a story. The Eagles' linemen tell a big one.

"My body may not be the best looking, but it does get the job done," Halapoulivaati Vaitai said in the video segment accompanying the shoot.

The photos were taken in June outside of Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and the offensive linemen are seen in typical tailgating mode minus the clothing of course. They say the NFL is a copycat league, so this will likely inspire hundreds if not thousands of Eagles fans to show up on Sunday with nothing but a beer and a bratwurst in hand. 

Jason Kelce appears to be having the most fun which isn't surprising given that guy always seems to be having the most fun whether he's wearing a full Mummer's outfit or nothing at all.

Lane Johnson was clearly the ring leader who talked the others into doing the shoot. So what did he hope people seeing the photos would take away from it?

“They can just laugh and see us as a bunch of goofy guys," Johnson said. "That’s what we are. Hopefully the pictures can capture what we’re really about, being authentic and there’s nothing fake about it. What you see is what you get.”

You can watch the guys talking about the shoot below and you can see the full photo gallery here.

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If you ever wanted to see the Eagles' offensive line naked, here's your chance

If you ever wanted to see the Eagles' offensive line naked, here's your chance

If you've wanted to see the Eagles' offensive line in the buff, you'll get your chance soon.

Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Jason Kelce, Isaac Seumalo and Halapoulivaati Vaitai will all be part of ESPN's BODY Issue.

For those who follow the Eagles, it should come as no surprise that Johnson was the ring leader of it all.

Brooks probably had the best description of the day.

I thought the BODY Issue you just have robes on and you’re naked but you’re not really naked, but you’re really naked the whole time," Brooks said. "You’re posing, they block everything off right, but once the shoot is over, you’re still a—-naked out there, just hanging out.

Then of course there was this moment ...

Veteran Jason Peters was not part of the shoot — "I asked him, he said maybe if he was 28 he'd get his a— on there," Johnson said.

This isn't the first time an Eagles player has taken part. Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz posed with his wife, USWNT star Julie Ertz, back in 2017.

What did Johnson's wife have to say about it?

S—, she’s gonna have a lot to say here in about a week when it comes out.

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Jason Kelce is one Eagle in particular that can empathize with Andrew Luck

Jason Kelce is one Eagle in particular that can empathize with Andrew Luck

Jason Kelce understands exactly what Andrew Luck has been going through. 

He’s been going through a lot of it himself.

That endless cycle of injury / rehab / injury / rehab that Luck spoke of when he explained his retirement on Sunday is something Kelce’s been stuck in in most of his career.

Now, because he’s a center and not a quarterback, he’s been able to play through most of his injuries.

But they're there. They're there 24-7. 

And as he prepares for his ninth season, the 31-year-old Kelce can certainly sympathize with the Colts’ quarterback, who is only 29.

It sucks,” Kelce said. “It’s definitely part of the game. Pain in itself is a pretty depressing thing and having to deal with it contsantly, having to go through that, is something that’s not fun, and you’re always constantly weighing how much that’s bringing you down vs. all the other joys you get out of the game, and obviously Andrew made the decision that he’s kind of done with it. I think anybody who plays football at this level or in general can understand – especially once you’ve been playing a long time and once you’ve been through the ringer. You understand what guys are going through, and happy that he’s finally at peace with that (decision).

After playing last year with a broken foot, a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee and a torn elbow, Kelce considered walking away from the game before he ultimately decided to keep playing.

He said at this point -- after eight seasons, 110 games and too many injuries to keep track of -- he ponders retirement after every season.

Last year was a grind, for sure,” Kelce said. “It’s going to continue. There’s always pain in this league. This league has a 100 percent injury rate. I think you try to get used to it, and then as you play longer you have more and more things that just add up. … It sounds like (Luck) was enduring a lot and he was tired of it.

Kelce isn’t technically injured right now with two weeks before the Eagles’ opener. But he has chronic pain in his left knee that just isn’t going to go away.

So the challenge becomes managing the pain instead of eliminating it.  

I think my knee in particular has been bothering me for a couple years and it’s nothing that bothers me on game day, just once-in-a-while little nagging type things. As we’ve understood what causes that and as we’ve understood exercises and things to alleviate that it’s gotten better, so even though it might flare up more now as I’m getting older, I think we understand how to treat it and make it feel better so it’s not as nagging as it has been in the past.

Doug Pederson has managed Kelce’s practice time wisely this summer, giving him enough work to be prepared for the season but also giving him three load management days over the duration training camp for full recovery from the grind.

“I think (it’s great) for guys like me, guys like (Jason Peters), who have a lot of wear and tear on them," Kelce said. "Don’t get me wrong, there’s still an important aspect of getting physical reps and conditioning, it’s still very much important, but being physically at your best on game day is pretty important as well.”

Kelce is a two-time all-pro and a two-time Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl champion and a Super Bowl parade hero.

He could walk away now and be considered the greatest center in Eagles history. Hall of Famers Alex Wojciechowicz and Jim Ringo both played center for the Eagles but both were only here for four years at the end of their careers.

But Kelce said he’s as stoked for the 2019 season as he’s ever been. Two weeks before the opener, he's all in.

You always have the same fire, and I think even Andrew (Luck) still has the same fire, but that fire didn’t over-match the depressingness of the pain that he had to endure,” Kelce said. “I’m the same guy that I’ve always been. I love going out there and playing ball, I love playing with the guys next to me, I love coming to work every single day, so from that respect I’m very much looking forward to playing another year.

Kelce is an all-time Eagle. It’s fun having him around, and he’s still one of the best centers in the NFL.

With some smart work by the team’s doctors and trainers, he won’t be following Luck into retirement any time soon.

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