PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles center Jason Kelce got the call a year late. It was Chip Kelly, his head coach, telling Kelce that he’d been chosen for the Pro Bowl.
This year’s Pro Bowl, not last year’s. Kelce missed four games this season after having surgery to repair a sports hernia. By his own admission, the injury has affected him all season.
"Unfortunately," Kelce said, "I’m not as good of a player as I was last year. I think it’s a little bit of injury and rhythm and everything like that. It’s just been the culmination of a lot of things."
Kelly saw it a little bit differently.
"If you ask Jason Kelce, he’s not the same player right now," Kelly said. "The kid is a flat-out warrior. He had a groin surgery that most people would have been out for the season on. He’s come back and played. But Jason’s not the same player this year that he was last year."
It’s often said that players make the Pro Bowl based more on reputation than on current credentials. If that’s the case, Kelce probably was overlooked last season. So this may be a makeup call.
"Sometimes you make the Pro Bowl on reputation," Kelly said. "You ask Jason Kelce, he’d be the first to tell you he played better last year than he played this year. Which is obviously true -- he missed four and a half games. It’s maybe a year later than he probably should have gotten it."
Kelce said the decision on whether to play in the Pro Bowl would depend on how he was feeling after the season.
"I’ll probably go if I’m healthy," Kelce said. "I’ve been battling a sports hernia all season. If there’s a chance that not going will help that recover quicker, there’s the potential that I wouldn’t go.
"I’m not a huge guy on the Pro Bowl, to tell you the truth. You feel great because of the respect you get from around the league. But to be honest, I don’t know how much the Pro Bowl really means. In my four years here, I’ve played in one playoff game so far. I’m not going to play in one this year. This game has never been about individuals. It’s always been team."