Jason Kelce was asked Thursday afternoon why he opted for a seven-year deal instead of something shorter.
“Why seven years? I don’t really know,” Kelce said. “They told me what the numbers were, and I was like, ‘That sounds pretty good to me.’ I think the longer for me the better because I really, truly don’t want to play for any other organization. I’m happy with this city, this team, these coaches. I’m really excited to be here and I have been since Day One.”
Last offseason, even when the Eagles were without a coach, Kelce was in the building. He lives in the area year-round and works out at the NovaCare Complex pretty much daily. Last year he was rehabbing a knee injury that ended his season two games into the 2012 campaign.
Now, in many ways, he’s become an organizational favorite. The front office got him in the sixth round of what otherwise was a disastrous draft back in 2011. Chip Kelly loves everything about the Kelce – from his athleticism to his smarts. And he is well-liked by his teammates in the locker room.
“I come down to breakfast every day and he’s here, he’s working,” said GM Howie Roseman. “And it’s February. And it’s because he loves to be here. He loves the game of football. He has an incredible passion for this city, for this football team. And then he’s explosive, he’s got traits in his body, what kind of player he is. So you put all those [things] together and that’s what we want. That’s what we’re trying to build a team of.”
At just 26-years-old, he could have signed a shorter deal and then tried to cash in again down the road. But that’s not how Kelce was thinking.
“I think I’ve got more than enough money to be comfortable,” he said. “I wear sweatpants and T-shirts every day. I don’t wear jewelery or anything. I don’t know that I need that much. But it’s certainly more than enough to live comfortably.”
Added Roseman: “When we started talking to Jason, there were certain things that were important to us. There were certain things that were important to him. And to his credit, one of the things that was important to him was an opportunity to play his whole career in Philadelphia.”
The contract will keep Kelce with the Eagles through the 2020 season. It’s worth $37.5 million and includes $13 million guaranteed.
While he had a really good year in 2013, Kelce knows there is room for improvement. He said right now is “bulking season” and he wants to get bigger and stronger in the coming months.
“My weight’s something that I just continually have to watch,” Kelce said, noting that he played last year between 285 and 295 pounds. “I wasn’t born a heavy guy. That’s something that I have to keep pounding into myself, so I would definitely like to be heavier next year though.”
After being on an 8-8 team his first season and watching from the sidelines as the Eagles went 4-12 in 2012, Kelce finally got a taste of the playoffs last season. And he believes the future is bright.
“I haven’t been this excited for a football season since I can remember,” he said. “With the way we ended it, with the way it looks like everything is headed, the genuine enthusiasm that everybody has, this is an exciting time to be a Philadelphia Eagle.”