By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For those who never met Jason Kelce, they’re missing something.
He’s intelligent, provocative, great with the fans, and great with his teammates. He’s in the discussion with the all-time Eagles’ centers, and there were some good ones, like Hall of Famers Alex Wojciechowicz, Chuck Bednarik, and Jim Ringo.
His speech at the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII parade will resonate, but it should also stir some embarrassment, when reflecting on it.
There is a famous quote from Malcolm X that says, “A man curses because he doesn’t have the words to say what’s on his mind.”
That’s not Jason Kelce.
He’s been the go-to guy to the Eagles’ media for years. His answers are always insightful and honest. It’s why it’s so difficult that Kelce, between his outfit and energy and was easily the life and heartbeat of the parade, had to resort to cursing.
His teammates laughed as Kelce artfully went down the list of knocks each player had. But when the expletives began falling out, there was a certain cringe-worthy feel when the cameras began panning over to Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman. Coach Doug Pederson, obviously used to the locker room kind of talk, laughed.
Lurie and Roseman not so much.
A few days afterward, even Kelce himself questioned whether to go “raw” was the right choice.
“I thought the swearing might get some negative reaction,” Kelce said during an appearance on a local radio station. “I didn’t know how Howie or Doug or Jeffrey were going to take this, which was one of the things I looked at when I actually watched the [speech]. After the speech, I’d been at the parade all day and wondered, ‘Did I say anything stupid? Did I do anything dumb?’
“Chris Long was just a Super Bowl champion last year and he wasn’t celebrated the way I think he should have.”
Kelce also omitted team leader and captain Malcolm Jenkins from his rant. It was a choice he regretted.
“I didn’t want to get political, but with Malcolm Jenkins and taking the knee, he was dismissed by a lot of people,” he said.
The essential element that was missing from Kelce’s outburst was simply acting like you’ve been there before.
“Jason Peters was told he was too old, didn’t have it any more. Before he got hurt, he was the best freakin’ tackle in the NFL. Big V [Halapoulivaati Vaitai] was told he didn’t have it. Stefen Wisniewski ain’t good enough. Jason Kelce’s too small. Lane Johnson can’t lay off the juice. Brandon Brooks has anxiety. Carson Wentz didn’t go to a Division I school. Nick Foles don’t got it. Corey Clement is too slow. LeGarrette Blount ain’t got it anymore.
“Jay Ajayi can’t stay healthy. Torrey Smith can’t catch. Nelson Agholor can’t catch. Zach Ertz can’t block. Brent Celek’s too old. Brandon Graham was drafted too high. Vinny Curry ain’t got it. Beau Allen can’t fit the scheme. Mychal Kendricks can’t fit the scheme. Nigel Bradham can’t catch. Jalen Mills can’t cover. Patrick Robinson can’t cover.
“It’s the whole team! It’s the whole team!”
Message understood. It should have stopped there.