A year ago, Jason Kelce was the subject of trade rumors. He was the subject of rumors of getting cut by the Eagles due to his favorable contract structure. He was being called overrated on Philly talk radio and even he himself was questioning whether he was good enough to keep playing in the NFL.
In February, Kelce became a legend. His play on the field spoke for itself in 2017-18 as he was selected first team All-Pro for the first time in his career. He was the offensive line's field general as the Birds won their first Super Bowl ever over the hated Patriots. And then, at the tail end of the biggest parade the city of Philadelphia has ever seen, Kelce secured his place among the greats in Philly sports cultural lure.
In the speech, Kelce recounted all the criticisms and doubts the public and NFL experts had about the Eagles. That Jason Peters was too old, that Carson Wentz didn't go to to a Division I school, that Bradon Brooks had anxiety and Nelson Agholor can't catch. Player by player, Kelce put voice to thought, even saying that Doug Pederson was the "least qualified coach" in the NFL, as Mike Lombardi said before the 2017 season.
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"Everybody wonders why we’re so mean" Kelce said in the F-bomb laden speech this past winter. "Everybody wonders why the Philadelphia Eagles’ aren’t the nicest fans. If I don’t eat breakfast, I’m f–ing pissed off."
On Tuesday the offensive lineman held back tears looking back at the most rewarding moment of his career.
“The whole speech was the realization of myself stepping back and seeing that I wasn’t the only one that overcame something,” Kelce said. “Literally, everybody has pushed through and persevered through some kind of adversity. That was the mantra of the whole season. It was something that came from a burning place inside that had been ingrained through a lot of hard work, failures, and success throughout my entire career. The same thing with this city and the entire organization."
Ever since the speech, Kelce's life hasn't been the same. He's been asked to pose in pictures everywhere he's gone. He's been asked to be in many Eagles' fans weddings. After his speech, Kelce has built enough love and reverence that he could probably be elected mayor of Philadelphia without much opposition.
Kelce got married last weekend, and he says his brother Travis — a tight end for the Chiefs — did a pretty good job of his own speech as Jason's best man.
With the ride of his life behind him, settled down with his new wife, Kelce is excited to focus on football and continuing to succeed in a football loving city that loves Kelce almost as much.