Eagles' Jason Kelce too focused to worry about his future
Jason Kelce too focused to worry about his future originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
There was a time when Jason Kelce obsessed over this stuff.
Would this be his final game as an Eagle? Would this be his final game at the Linc? Would this be his final time wearing the No. 62 jersey that’s become synonymous with Hall of Fame center play?
We all think about it. Doesn’t he?
Not so much anymore.
“I think it was like three years ago, I think it might have been maybe Doug’s last year (2020), it was on my mind quite a bit,” Kelce said. “I’ve learned now that I don’t know when that last game’s going to come, so maybe I think about it a little bit less.”
Kelce is one of the greatest Eagles ever, a five-time all-pro, a future Hall of Famer. He’s played 185 games in an Eagles uniform, and only David Akers (207), Brian Dawkins (201), Harold Carmichael (187) and Brandon Graham (186) have played more. He’s played 93 games at the Linc, and only Graham (95) has played more.
As exciting as it is to think about the Eagles going to Arizona for Super Bowl LVII, the possibility remains that this could be the last time Kelce ever plays football in Philadelphia.
“There’s always a chance that’s going to be the situation, but you just try to think about the game and focus on taking in the moment and being 100 percent there,” the 34-year-old Kelce said. “It’s hard enough doing it that way. It’s going to be a lot harder if you’re not focused.”
The same holds true for Graham and Fletcher Cox, who have all played between 182 and 186 games for the Eagles. They rank 4th, 5th and 8th in franchise history in games played.
They’ve all won one Super Bowl so far, they were all drafted by Andy Reid, they’re all future Eagles Hall of Famers and they’re all playing terrific football, Graham in his 13th year, Kelce in his 12th, Cox in his 11th.
All three are unsigned beyond this season, and it’s unfathomable to imagine an Eagles team without Kelce, Graham or Cox. But it’s possible.
Cox had 7.0 sacks this year and another against the Giants Saturday. He ranked 9thamong interior linemen and 4th among NFC interior linemen in his best season since 2018. Retiring is the last thing on his mind.
“It’s something I haven’t thought about,” he said. “I’m still playing at a high level, so that hasn’t crossed my mind once at all. I’m just enjoying the moment, seizing every moment that I’m here, appreciating my teammates.
“First time ever in my career that I’ll be a free agent and get to make a choice, but the most important part now is focusing on this game and not the future. I really try not to think about things like that because that’ll just get my mind going and I won’t be focused on what’s the task at hand. So I try to live in the moment, and I think the moment for me is right now.”
Graham had a career-high 11 sacks and another Saturday night in a magical bounce-back season after missing most of last year with a torn Achilles.
He’s been the heart and soul of this team for so long it’s almost impossible to imagine B.G. not being here.
“I haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “Just trying to finish the deal on this season and then we’ll talk more.
“But yeah, man, I’m just trying to stop time as much as I can by just enjoying this moment because these moments come and go so fast. … Dang, we’re playing for the NFC Championship Game and I’ve only played one time in it and you know what we did that year. And so it’s cool to be in this moment again and I know that our team is going to put our best foot forward this week.
“So I’m just trying to make sure I finish out the deal by giving everything I’ve got. We can talk about all that after the season is over.”