It was a long time coming. Every Eagles fan suspected and feared that there was a good chance this was Jason Kelce's last season. When the cameras zoomed in on Kelce's face in near tears last night, they knew this was it. It was later reported that the Philly legend is in fact retiring.
One of the best centers to ever play the game, Kelce's hall-of-fame case is indisputable. He will be in Canton one day. But where does he rank among the all-time Eagles greats?
Jason Kelce Is A Top-Five Eagles Player of All-Time
Kelce already holds the record for most consecutive starts in Eagles history. He didn't miss a game in nine seasons, playing through all sorts of injuries. He played in the second-most games in Eagles history with 193, only two behind Brandon Graham. Not only did he consistently play a key role in elite offensive units, but he was also an integral part of the only Super Bowl win in franchise history. This alone puts him in a separate echelon from many of his brethren.
But let's take a look at who has an argument to be ahead of Kelce.
Reggie White, as one of the most dominant defensive players of all-time, should certainly rank above Kelce. Seven Pro Bowls, one Defensive Player of the Year award, and an insane 124 sacks in an Eagles uniform make the Minister of Defense one of the greatest Eagles of all-time.
Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest safeties to ever play the game, Brian Dawkins, should also be mentioned as clearly a greater Eagle than Kelce.
After that, Kelce has a case to be as high as the third-greatest Eagle of all time. Obviously, there are legends before our times like Steve Van Buren, Chuck Bednarik, and Tommy McDonald who are hard to place on a list like this.
Eagles icons and all-time record holders like Donovan McNabb and Harold Carmichael also have strong cases of being in the top five of all-time discussions.
Yet, besides the numbers and accolades, what Kelce has accomplished as an offensive lineman is beyond impressive. Becoming the face of a franchise as a center, embodying the Philly spirit like no other, Kelce has been the heart and soul of this team for such a long time that he deserves all the praise he gets. His hard-nosed, blue-collar mentality, combined with his athleticism and versatility will be extremely difficult to replicate, not only for the Eagles but for any offensive lineman ever.
All this makes him undoubtedly a top-10 greatest Eagle of all-time and more likely closer to top-five. You will not hear an argument from me if you even put him No. 3.
In other Eagles news: