The Eagles build their teams starting up front, with the offensive and defensive lines. This philosophy is the reason Philly has been so fortunate to have four pillars of the locker room who have been together for over a decade. Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, and Lane Johnson have always given this team and this city their all, and if Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals is their last time playing in Lincoln Financial Field, it’ll be a disservice to such great guys and leaders.
This team has been so frustrating this season, that thinking about who might be retiring — or signing elsewhere — hasn’t been something I’ve spent a lot of time on. But now, with only one game left of the regular season, and having kissed any chance of a home playoff game goodbye, the reality is setting in that at least one, if not more, of the Core 4 has played their last game in Philly.
Brandon Graham has played for 14 years, and his strip sack of Tom Brady in the Eagles’ Super Bowl win will live on for generations. Jason Kelce has brought awareness to the center position, led the offense through different QBs, and gives his all to the Philly community — not to mention, he gave the most memorable victory speech of all time. Fletcher Cox has proved over-and-over again how valuable he is to the defense, and Lane Johnson is without question one of, if not the best right tackle in the NFL.
These four guys don’t deserve to go out like this. Losing to the Cardinals, who were just 3-12 coming into the Week 17 matchup, is embarrassing. They heard more boos on Sunday than cheers, which is not how they deserve to go out.
We won’t know until after the season who might be returning, but it’s upsetting to think that any of those four veterans had to say goodbye to The Linc with a game like that.