Jason Kelce didn’t practice Wednesday, but the leader of the Eagles’ offensive line is on track to start against the Seattle Seahawks Monday night, despite having suffered a painful-looking elbow injury late in the first half of Sunday’s loss at Cleveland.
“It’s responded well. Obviously, it was pretty swollen on Monday after the game, but I’ll be ready to go this week. It’s feeling surprisingly really good,” Kelce said.
Kelce’s left arm seemed to get caught in a collision between two players. He left for the final four snaps of the first half, replaced by rookie center Luke Juriga. Kelce paced the sideline, hunched in obvious pain, but waved off an attempt to get him to enter the blue injury tent.
“It wasn’t so much the tent. I didn’t need to be evaluated,” Kelce said. “I knew what was wrong, I knew what had happened, so what’s the point of me going into a tent, for you to tell me what I already know? That was part of it, and then another part was just being upset with the situation. … Obviously, this is a big game. I don’t want to come out. I don’t want to miss time. There’s guys counting on me.”
Kelce’s start against the Seahawks will be his 100th in a row, tops among NFL centers.
“I don’t think that a number means much, I think that it’s, you just try to be available and do your job, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to do that,” Kelce said.
The Eagles are 3-6-1, home underdogs against Seattle, a team that has beaten the Eagles in all six meetings over the last decade (including last season’s playoffs). How do they cope with their continuing struggles?
“You just try and keep hanging in there and fighting and trying to figure things out,” Kelce said. “That’s all you can do.”
Among those practicing Wednesday was tight end Zach Ertz, whose 21-day window to come back from injured reserve began last week. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said that Ertz is “trending in the right direction” to play against the Seahawks.
Sticking up for J.P.
Kelce also came to the defense of embattled 38-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who seemed to get banged up early in the Cleveland game and went on to have a miserable day. Three of the Browns’ five sacks were charged to him.
“Incredible teammate, incredible player,” Kelce said. He added that Peters, like Carson Wentz, sometimes gets more criticism than is warranted.
“I’ll go out there and battle with him any day of the week,” Kelce said. “I feel very confident going into any game with him, at any position, that we’ll go out there and be successful.”
Defensive end Brandon Graham also expressed faith in Peters. Head coach Doug Pederson said Monday that Peters remains the starter.
“One thing I can say about J.P. is, he’s on to the next opponent,” Graham said. “He understands he had a bad game, he’s talked about it. If anything, it lit a fire up under him to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Graham recalled when he arrived in 2010, seeing Peters “blocking three or four people on a play.”
“We all have our days, especially when we’re getting older, where certain things don’t come as easy as [they] used to, but I do know that JP’s still got a lot in the tank,” Graham said.