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Respect the beard: Kelce earning trust

Jason Kelce come out nowhere last season to grab the starting center spot.

Jason Kelce come out nowhere last season to grab the starting center spot. He was hand-picked and groomed by grizzled offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who felt the need to move on from longtime veteran Jamaal Jackson.

One year later, Kelce -- and his enormous, woodsman beard -- is the face and voice of the offensive line. It's his job to call out the shots at the line, a job he takes almost as serious as his grooming habits, especially his relationship with Mike Vick.

"The trust just keeps getting better and better between me and Mike," Kelce said early this spring. "I feel the guys feel much more comfortable with me being the guy to make the calls."

But Kelce also likes to have fun and is widely regarded as one of the class clowns in the locker room. During the Eagles' Flight Night, he came barreling out of the tunnel in a raccoon-skinned cap. He also painted his famous beard pink during a community service event this offseason.

"We spend enough time being serious," he said. "Every single time we are out on the field, every time we are in meetings you don't really have time to goof around. When you get those moments where you can kind of cut back and goof off with one another you still like to do that."

Kelce, an unheralded sixth-round pick out of Cincinnati just a year ago, has also become a sort of point person for the media. Whenever you want to gauge the pulse of the team, you swing by his locker.

"Every single person has their role, and my role is to get us started and get us all on the same page," Kelce said. "The center is the vocal guy and he's the one who makes the calls so that's my role in the unit.

 
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