Tight end Brent Celek is more of an elder statesman for the Eagles.
Drafted by Philadelphia back in 2007, Celek broke through as the team’s top tight end with eight touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards in 2009. But the emergence of Zach Ertz has pushed Celek into a back up role — he had just 10 catches for 130 yards this past season. Still, he’s the longest tenured player on Philly’s roster and has a unique view of what the team’s Super Bowl title Sunday really means to his adopted home town.
“It’s surreal,” Celek said after beating the Patriots 41-33, “especially in Philly. People that played in Philly and know our fans undestand what it means to these people. I know what it means to them and man, it’s legendary to Philly I love it.”
Celek knew early on that Philadelphia was unlike other NFL cities. And he embraced it, making the Eagles the only team he’s played for over a 12-year NFL career. He even took a pay cut as part of an extension that could have him in the city through the end of the 2018 season.
“[I knew] the first week,” the 33-year-old said “You can tell just walking around the city how much they love the players, how much they want us to win, how bad they wanted to win a chamoionship. This city has never had a super bowl, now they do, now they do.”
With Super Bowl Champion now tattooed to his NFL legacy forever, Celek, could be cut next season with just a $1 million cap hit and $5 million in savings for a team looking to stay in the Super Bowl mix next year too. Which begs the obvious question, will Celek instead decide to retire and go out on top?
“It’s the icing on the cake, we’ll see,” Celek said. “I’m not saying one way or the other what the deal is.”
His answer seems to imply he’s considering walking away, and as he reaches his mid 30s — playing a game known for taking a toll on players — the time might be right. Or perhaps he’ll be gently nudged out by the Eagles front office in the cutthroat world that is the NFL.
He’s expected to make his decision relatively soon.