Jason Kelce is the latest in a series of stories looking at the Hall of Fame chances of current or recent Eagles who are still active in the NFL.
Friday, July 19: Fletcher Cox
Saturday, July 20: Zach Ertz
Sunday, July 21: DeSean Jackson
Today: Jason Kelce
Tuesday, July 23: LeSean McCoy
Wednesday, July 24: Jason Peters
Thursday, July 25: Darren Sproles
Numbers: Kelce hasn’t missed a game over the last four years. He and Malcolm Jenkins are the only Eagles to start all 69 regular-season and postseason games since opening day 2015.
Kelce has started 110 games since the start of his rookie year in 2011. He’s one of only three Eagles left on the roster from the 2011 season.
Postseason numbers: Kelce is one of 10 Eagles who started all five playoff games during the Super Bowl run in 2017 and again last year. Along with Fletcher Cox, Nick Foles and Lane Johnson, he’s one of four Eagles to start all the team’s playoff games since 2013.
Honors: Has made All-Pro or Pro Bowl four of the last five years, but oddly the two years he’s made first-team All-Pro (2017 and 2018), he hasn’t made the Pro Bowl. He was a Pro Bowler in 2014 and 2016. He’s actually one of only six players in NFL history to make first-team All-Pro in two separate seasons in which he didn’t make the Pro Bowl and the only non-kicker to achieve that in the last 50 years.
Favorite stat: Kelce is one of only four centers in NFL history drafted in the sixth round or later to make first-team All-Pro more than once. The others are Hall of Famer Jim Ringo and New Jersey native Bob DeMarco for the Cards in the 1960s, and more recently Tom Nalen of the Broncos.
Records and rankings
• Kelce has started 110 games in an Eagles uniform. The only center in franchise history to start more games than Kelce is Guy Morriss (151).
• Kelce is one of only three NFL centers to start all 64 regular-season games since opening day 2015 and the only one to do it for the same team. Ben Jones and Alex Mack have also started every game at center over the last four years, but Jones has been with both the Texans and Titans and Mack with the Browns and Falcons.
• Kelce is also the only NFC center in the last 30 years to start for a Super Bowl championship team and make All-Pro at least twice. The last NFC center to accomplish that was Jay Hilgenberg of the Bears, who started on the 1985 team and was an All-Pro in 1988 and 1989. Since then, the only centers who’ve been Super Bowl champs and multiple All-Pros are Tom Nalen of the Broncos and Jeff Saturday of the Colts.
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. Kelce still needs to beef up his résumé with a couple more All-Pro or Pro Bowl seasons to be in the mix, and considering he’s been thinking about retirement recently, he may not play long enough to get those honors.
But Kelce is already a two-time All-Pro, and of the 17 centers in NFL history who’ve been selected to three All-Pro teams, 15 of them are in the Hall of Fame. The only exceptions are Les Bingaman, who was a three-time All-Pro in a very short career in the 1950s with the Lions (4½ years as a starter) and Clyde Smith, who played in the 1920s.
What hurts Kelce is that he’s only made two Pro Bowls in eight seasons, even though he’s clearly been deserving of more. The voters won’t know that.
What works for him is his durability — he missed signifiant time only in 2012 and has started 98 of 102 games since 2013 — and how rare it is for a sixth-round pick to have this kind of individual success and his importance to the Super Bowl offense. Even his parade speech helps because there’s not a lot of centers who get that kind of attention.
But Kelce is 31 now and realistically needs a minimum of two more Pro Bowl seasons or one more first-team All-Pro season to be a serious contender for Canton.
Verdict: Will not be a Hall of Famer.
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