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Center Of Attention: Kelce Says He's 'Ahead Of Schedule'

By Joseph Santoliquito

Jason Kelce, one of the NFL's top centers, shares his weekly thoughts with CBS Philly's Joe Santoliquito.

PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Jason Kelce looks like he can play now, so excuse how antsy he is these days. The Eagles' center, the hub of their offensive line, is still recovering from hernia surgery on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

The target return for Kelce is Monday night, Nov. 10 at home against the Carolina Panthers. If it were up to Kelce, he would have returned the day after he had surgery. He does everything full tilt, so it didn't come as too much of a surprise when he said his rehab has been going extremely well.

"I'm ahead of schedule," Kelce said. "We'll see how everything goes. We haven't changed the target date yet, but it's going really well so far."

Though sidelined from the injury he suffered in the Eagles' 37-34 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sept. 21, Kelce still played an integral role in the Eagles' 34-28 victory over St. Louis on Sunday.

Eagles' offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland enlisted Kelce's input on line adjustments and what he saw during the game.

It was just a little harder for Kelce to be watching than playing.

"It's good that we were able to establish a running game relatively late," Kelce said. "The offensive line seems to be getting better at working together. It's not an individual thing. It's about everyone getting more familiar with each other and working better as a unit. That seemed to get better and better as the game went on.

"I was able to help guys out and tell [David] Molk what I'm seeing and he can tell me what's actually going on on the field. Sometimes, I can lend my experience and help out as much as I can. It was kind of cool looking at the game and notice things to help out, either helping Coach Stout or looking at Molk. It was pretty cool during the [Rams] game that they were lined up a certain way, and Stout saw something. It's kind of cool to be a part of those discussions and what you think is there, and what the other coaches think. It's great when you have a coaching staff that takes player's input seriously and feel you understand the game."

Kelce said this injury has helped toward providing a glimpse into his future. The four-year veteran plans on playing until his legs fall off, but he has a wealth of football knowledge beyond his years. He's able to convey it well. Molk and the rest of the Eagles' offensive front respect his input.

It's no wonder that the Eagles are 23-14 in games in which Kelce has started, and just 3-13 in games that he hasn't played in since 2011.

"He's helped me a ton," Molk said about Kelce. "He's great to bounce things off of, and he's one of those guys you can go to if you have a question about something."

Kelce said he already has a plan laid out transitioning after his playing career—which has plenty of more years ahead (he's set with a seven-year contract from the Eagles that covers him until 2020).

"Eventually, I will be a coach, whether it's at the NFL, college or high school level, I'm going to get into coaching, I just know it," Kelce said. "I'm going to have fun when I'm done playing going through that transition of player to coach. I want to go through the nuances of going through game plans that I don't pay much attention to now, other than what the offensive line does. There are little nuances of putting in an entire game plan together that I would really enjoy."


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