When Jason Kelce announced he was coming back for the 2021 season, there was a mini-parade down Broad Street. His leadership and personality are needed in a locker room programmed for rebuild mode. Kelce is irreplaceable on and off the field.
Then the Philadephia Eagles did the unthinkable and spent a second-round pick on his replacement. Too soon, mused the fan base. Yes, former Alabama standout Landon Dickerson has all the makings of a stud center but maybe the team reached on a pick with serious health concerns, including four season-ending injuries since 2016. That storyline will play itself out. For now, Kelce remains the starter in Philly and the 33-year-old face of the franchise is ready to mold Dickerson in his image.
“I know he’s got the injury concerns, I’ve had my fair share of injuries,” Kelce told SportsRadio 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi. “I’m sure the medical staff looked that through and he’ll be fine. And I’m excited to work with him, I’m excited to work with anyone that has the type of mentality that this kid, supposedly, does … I’m going to do anything I can to help him out and we’ll make each other better.”
Kelce wouldn’t say when he would finally walk off into the sunset, but it’s probably sooner than later. He and his wife, Kylie, just welcomed their second child — another daughter, Elliot Rey — into the world in early March. He talked about missing the “atmosphere of the locker room” should he ever retire.
“At some point, I’m going to have to say that it’s over, but I’m not ready to do that yet,” Kelce said. “I’m getting goosebumps just talking right now. I get excited to get back around these guys, to get back in the weight room, to get back to try to figure out how to be the best team in the NFL, to be the best center in the NFL.”
“I miss the atmosphere of the locker room. Those personalities are hard to come by when you’re done playing. At some point I’m going to have to say that it’s over, but I’m not ready to do that yet. I’m getting goosebumps just talking right now.” 🐐 https://t.co/8b9UWQOux0
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) May 13, 2021
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Dickerson Bringing ‘Relentless’ Mindset to NFL
Dickerson could be the biggest steal of the 2021 draft. To hear former Eagles guard Brian Baldinger talk about the rookie, he could end up being the best center in football for the next decade. He wouldn’t be surprised if the 333-pounder — that’s 50 pounds heavier than Kelce — pushed for the starting job this year.
If Landon Dickerson had 2 healthy ACL’s, Alabama would be shattering the record for most 1st rounders
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) April 30, 2021
“This guy has Jason Peters-type power,” Baldinger told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He just knocks people in the dirt. Like over and over again.”
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) May 3, 2021
Then you hear Dickerson talk about his mindset going into rookie minicamp (May 14-16). He studied at the Nick Saban School of Football and majored in “making the other team quit.” You can’t teach that kind of attitude.
“The way I view football is my mindset is no matter what the score is, I’ve always wanted to make the other team quit,” Dickerson told reporters. “And that’s really the same kind of mindset I want to bring here. It’s just relentless on and off the field and in everything you do, and I think it’s not only a great mindset for games but anything you do in life.”
Kelce Impressed with Rookie’s Physicality, Nastiness
Put on Dickerson’s tape and you see a guy with a mean streak and high motor. He won the Rimington Trophy (college football’s best center) as a senior and was a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy (the nation’s top interior offensive lineman) despite missing the playoffs due to injury. The 22-year-old lobbied to play on a torn ACL, according to Alabama teammate DeVonta Smith, and served as a permanent team captain in college.
Landon Dickerson, pancake maker 🥞
— Thor Nystrom (@thorku) March 29, 2021
“Landon’s a dog. He’s really going to leave everything on the line, whether he’s hurt or not,” Smith said. “The guy had an ACL injury and he was still trying to be out there. That’s the kind of guy he is, that’s the type of guy you want to play with.”
Kelce got a sense of that just from watching the college film on Dickerson. He called him a “big, nasty, offensive lineman.” And Kelce should know because he is one of those guys.
“You turn on the tape, he finishes guys, he’s physical, he’s got the mentality, he’s got the ability, he’s got the physicality,” Kelce said. “Everything you want in a big, mean, nasty offensive lineman, he’s got.”
Landon Dickerson tore his ACL in the SEC Championship Game.
Today, he’s doing cartwheels in the middle of Mac Jones’ interview 😂 pic.twitter.com/PU6u9F5f8O
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) March 30, 2021