Thursday, October 6, 2022

Jason Kelce returns to full pads at Eagles practice, on track to play in season opener vs. Lions

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All-Pro center Jason Kelce appears to be on track to play for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. Kelce was back in full pads at Wednesday’s practice, weeks after an elbow procedure Kelce sidelined him for two to four weeks. 

“Always happy when Jason Kelce is on the football field,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said Thursday. “Obviously, I’ve told him this many times. When I’m the head coach here, I want him to be on the football team. There’s no secrets in that. I don’t know how many kegs I’ll have to send next year or the year after that or the year after that, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

“But we love having him out on the field, and it just always makes a big difference, and then of course when you get to work with first-team reps, when you have first-team reps to go and you’re a young player developing, that’s super important to any player.

“Cam [Jurgens] was able to develop from that, and Jason helped him along the way with that, as well.”

Jurgens filled in admirably for Kelce on the first-team offense, playing well in the preseason and proving the franchise is set at center going forward. The Eagles have excellent depth at center with Kelce and Jurgens, but it’s Kelce’s team for 2022 as he’s still one of the best in the game. 

An All-Pro selection at center in four of the past five years, Kelce anchored the league’s No. 1 rushing attack in Philadelphia last season. In 525 pass-blocking snaps last year, Kelce allowed just one sack and 16 pressures with a pressure rate per dropback of 3.0%. 

Kelce’s streak of 122 consecutive starts is the longest active streak for centers in the NFL. Kelce trails only Jake Matthews (127 starts) for the longest consecutive start streak in the NFL. The Eagles’ longtime center hasn’t missed a game since Week 8 of the 2014 season — and doesn’t appear to miss Week 1 with his return to practice. 

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