‘That boy a beast' — Kelce battles through injury, boosts Eagles in win


GLENDALE, Ariz. — It didn’t look good.

When Jason Kelce hobbled off the field and went straight to locker room in the second quarter against the Cardinals, it looked like his afternoon might be over. Heck, it looked like the Eagles might be without their stalwart center for a while.

But then as fans filed back into their seats at State Farm Stadium after halftime, Kelce came storming out of the tunnel, helmet on, ankle taped, ready to go.

“Well, if that doesn’t get you going then you don’t have a pulse,” offensive lineman Jack Driscoll said.

Not only did Kelce return, he played every offensive snap the rest of the way, leading the Eagles to a narrow 20-17 win over the Cardinals to improve to 5-0. On the very first snap of the second half, Kelce pulled and Miles Sanders ran behind him for a gain of 12.

“He’s one of the toughest mother … toughest SOBs I’ve ever met,” Driscoll said. “And the fact that he came back out, when Kelce’s out, he’s hurt. There’s never a question. You guys know more than anyone how tough he is. To see him come back and play just got everyone really fired up. And everyone kind of, ‘Let’s go.’”

After the game, Kelce said he rolled his ankle and suffered a lower ankle sprain. He’ll have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.

The self-deprecating Kelce said he sometimes has a “tendency to be dramatic” and that maybe the injury wasn’t as serious as it was initially perceived.

But his teammates know that if Kelce is leaving the game, even for one snap, then there’s something wrong. That was why Lane Johnson said he was worried.

Johnson said Kelce had a limp in the second half and he could tell the injury was affecting him, but Kelce was still out there for the entire half and played well enough to help lead the Eagles on a 7:58 drive in the fourth quarter to lead to the game-winning field goal.

“We all know he’s a soldier and that’s something we can’t take for granted,” Jalen Hurts said. “It’s something I damn sure don’t take for granted. I admire his leadership. I admire the way he plays the game, his toughness. He’s relentless. He’s everything I admire in a competitor. He’s one of the greatest to play the position and he’s in an air of his own.”

Kelce on Sunday started his 127th consecutive game. That’s the fourth-longest streak in Eagles history. And it’s the longest for an NFL center since Casey Wiegman’s 175 from 2001-11. Kelce has earned the right to be called and Iron Man.

On Sunday, it wasn’t just Kelce either. Landon Dickerson similarly battled through a leg injury to return in the second half, although he was forced out again late. And even Isaac Seumalo dealt with an ankle injury all week.

But as one of the longest-tenured players on the team and an offensive captain, Kelce’s toughness seems to rub off on the rest of his teammates.

No one knows that better about that than Brandon Graham, who has been teammates with Kelce longer than anyone.

“Man, that boy a beast,” Graham said. “I got so much respect for him already. Just adds some more icing on the cake. You know what you’re getting with him. If he can go, he’s going to go. And that’s one guy that I don’t want to let down, especially if I know I can go, I’m gonna go. My hat’s off to him.”

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