Jason Kelce took a bit of time this offseason before deciding he wanted to continue his career. The Eagles have their All-Pro center back in place, but they will be without him for the time being.
The veteran snapper is undergoing elbow surgery, Tim McManus of ESPN.com tweets. While a surgery occurring this close to the regular season would seem to put Kelce’s Week 1 availability in jeopardy, McManus adds (via Twitter) it is realistic the 12th-year blocker will be ready for the Eagles’ opener. That said, Kelce is currently without a timetable. This surgery happened Tuesday, McManus tweets.
This being described as a routine cleanup-type procedure should be good news for Eagles fans, as should Kelce’s run of availability. The likely Hall of Fame candidate has not missed a game since the 2014 season. This ironman streak may encounter some turbulence ahead of the season, however.
Kelce, 34, obviously served as a critical cog in the Eagles’ 2021 turnaround, a stretch in which the team pivoted to a run-oriented attack and mounted a playoff push. The Eagles led the NFL in rushing in Nick Sirianni‘s first season. They did this without guards Isaac Seumalo or Brandon Brooks being healthy. Lane Johnson also missed four games in 2021, with Jordan Mailata being sidelined for three. Kelce’s durability over the years has certainly helped an otherwise injury-prone Eagles O-line. Kelce has been the NFL’s first-team All-Pro center in four of the past five seasons.
Big on O-line fortification, draft-wise, the Eagles continued to prepare for Kelce’s eventual departure this year. The team drafted Cam Jurgens in Round 2. While 2021 second-round pick Landon Dickerson ended his college career as the center on Alabama’s latest national championship squad, he has become a starting guard in Philly. Jurgens is on an early track to be Kelce’s successor. The team’s current second-string center will be in line for a few weeks’ worth of additional work ahead of what could be Kelce’s final season.