Chip Kelly didn’t always get things right.
And that’s putting it kindly.
But he was not mistaken when he said the following about Brent Celek in 2014.
“When you talk about what a Philadelphia Eagle looks like, Brent Celek is what a Philadelphia Eagle looks like.”
Those words couldn’t be more true.
And so, even though we all knew it was coming, it was a sad day when the Eagles officially released the longest tenured player on the team earlier this week.
But Celek’s legacy will not fade or be forgotten. It can’t. It’s everlasting.
After all, he is the definition of a Philadelphia Eagle.
Now, what does that actually mean?
It means not missing a single game in your 11-year career, save for a Thursday night game you couldn’t play in due to the NFL’s concussion protocol.
It means sacrificing your body and playing an entire season with a torn labrum and half of another season with double groin tears.
It means being OK with losing your role as a pass catcher to do the dirty work and mainly contribute as a blocker.
It means every time that you did catch the ball, you did NOT go down easy. You didn’t run out of bounds or go to the ground on your own.
It means coming to this city as a fifth-round pick in 2007 with relatively no expectations. I remember the Eagles’ official website ran a poll on which player they were most excited about from that draft class and you received the fewest amount of votes. Yet you remained the last one standing.
It means being unselfish and doing the right thing. You know, like when you slid down in the Eagles-Lions Snow Bowl in 2013. You could’ve ran in for the wide open touchdown. But you knew sliding would end the game right there.
It means “getting” this city. You weren’t just playing for the pay check. You genuinely cared about the success of this team. You were pissed off when the Eagles went 4-12 in 2012. You even sincerely apologized to fans while doing a charity event. The failure wasn’t even your fault, but you took accountability and treated it like it was.
It means becoming one of us. You opened your own restaurants in the city and spent time interacting with the people who went there. You even used your food truck to cater lunches for the media. You treated everyone with respect and dignity.
It means being a championship caliber player. After 11 long years, you finally made it. You became a Super Bowl champion. You fulfilled your mission to bring the Lombardi Trophy to a place you weren’t originally from but you made your new home.
On behalf of Philadelphia Eagles fans everywhere:
Thank you, Brent Celek.
You are a legend.
Brent Celek on Super Bowl after being released— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) March 14, 2018
“Thats the reason why Im not crying right now. Because I know we brought the city what they needed. What they wanted”
“The parade. It still gives me chills”
“I love this city. This is my home”#ThanksBrent #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/CCZ232JJOS
A true leader on & off the field. Brent Celek is one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever played with. Selfless, talented, respected, hard-working, caring, and a true CHAMPION. Unbelievable teammate and happy to call you a great friend. Much love my brotha! pic.twitter.com/fesEQ0y0f6— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) March 13, 2018
Thank you @BrentCelek ! Thank you for you leadership! Thank you for your durability! Thank you for doing the dirty work! Thank you for your production! Thank you for your unselfishness! Thank you for being you! #RESPECT love you Bro! https://t.co/WoM2Sc4mxv— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) March 14, 2018
I’ve had very few better teammates than @BrentCelek . I knew it from the outside but this year confirmed it for me: Celek is a philly legend! 11 year run, so loved. So much respect for you as a player and teammate. Brother 4 life!!— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) March 13, 2018
Can't say enough about @BrentCelek as a teammate and friend. Unbelievably humble and hardworking guy - an absolute grinder and a true brother. Happy we got that ring together Celsie!! pic.twitter.com/m1i7SJkW3y— Beau Allen (@Beau_Allen) March 13, 2018
Thanks Malcolm. Gonna miss the locker room. Love you bro— Brent Celek (@BrentCelek) March 14, 2018