Saturday’s Eagles-Cowboys game means very little for either team. Both teams have essentially locked up their seeding in the postseason already and neither are expected to play many of their starters.
The Eagles, in particular, had a rash of COVID cases this week and the majority of those placed on the Reserve/COVID list have not been activated. But there is one player who has been activated from this list for this contest, Jason Kelce.
He may not play the entire game, but getting the start tonight would be significant for a few reasons. First, this would be Kelce’s 121 consecutive start, the longest active streak of starts in the NFL. The record dates back to 2014, and it would be foolish to let that streak end just because this final game is meaningless.
But, there’s another reason Kelce could be getting the start tonight. He’s flirted with retirement for the past few years and if you’ve been following the crumbs, it does kind of feel like this could be Kelce’s final hoorah.
We know last year was tough for Kelce. He was the only starting offensive lineman that played every game and the team was just terrible. The now infamous photo of Kelce, Carson Wentz, and Zach Ertz remaining on the field after the final game of the year last year signified the end of an era.
Not only for Wentz and Ertz, but Kelce hanging up the cleats was certainly plausible. The team was entering a rebuilding phase and he was going to be 34 years old heading into the 2021 season.
As we all know, it didn’t play out that way. Kelce returned for his 11th season and has played some of the best football of his career. He earned his fourth Pro Bowl and could be on the verge of his fourth first-team All-Pro selection.
Off the field, Kelce has been much more vocal this season. He was nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award by his team and he gave a heart felt response when he addressed the media about it.
And then there was the speech he gave to the team heading into the Giants matchup just a few weeks ago. This year, more so than any other year I can remember, Kelce has worn his emotions on his sleeves. I’ve watched this speech about two dozen times and it makes me want to run through a wall every single time.
The way Kelce has taken on the leadership role this year, the way he’s played on the field, to the emotions he’s displayed so unapologetically, it all points towards this being his final year. I hope it isn’t, we all hope it isn’t.
He’s given so much to this city on and off the field — he’ll be impossible to replace.
This game against the Cowboys does seem meaningless on the surface. But if this is truly Kelce’s last home start in Philadelphia, none of us will forget where we were for this contest.