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Cam Jurgens: 'I am just trying to be myself'

Cam Jurgens
Cam Jurgens

When Cam Jurgens returned from Nebraska for the start of the offseason training program, he walked to the wrong locker in the NovaCare Complex. Jurgens' new locker is the one that was occupied by Jason Kelce for the last 13 years.

"It does feel a little weird without Kelce here," said Jurgens during a press conference on Wednesday. "They moved my locker over into his, so obviously that's a little weird. I went to the wrong locker a couple times and I'm like, 'this isn't mine anymore,' but it's fun getting back into the groove."

Following Kelce's retirement in early March, Jurgens is expected to take the reins as the starting center when the Eagles travel to Brazil for the 2024 season opener.

For the past two seasons, Jurgens learned from the future Hall of Famer, backing up Kelce as a rookie in 2022 and starting to his right in 2023.

"It was very valuable," Jurgens said. "I learned so much playing behind him my first year, and then this last year getting to play guard, playing beside him. Every single day, there is something to learn, so it was fun being in that room and being in that environment."

The plan for Jurgens to take over for Kelce was in place since 2022.

During the pre-draft process, Kelce was asked to help evaluate centers. He identified Jurgens as his favorite prospect in the entire class. Jurgens was selected by Philadelphia with the 51st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

At Nebraska, the versatile offensive lineman started 31 games, including 18 straight at center to end his college career. Just like Kelce, Jurgens came into college playing a different position – Jurgens was a tight end and Kelce was a linebacker.

However, the 24-year-old isn't feeling any pressure to replicate what Kelce did as an Eagle.

"I'm not trying to be somebody's replacement; I am just trying to be myself," Jurgens said. "Really, it's like what can I do to learn, what can I do to get better, and how can I be the best football player I can be, not how can I be what he was."

Jurgens adopted that mindset thanks to spending countless hours with Kelce, admiring how the veteran carried himself as a player, father, and in his new-found status as a celebrity.

The offseason approach from Jurgens has been no different than any other season where he would have his locker mate with him.

"I don't think any offseason is different from any other one," Jurgens said. "You want to go in every offseason and try to get the most out of yourself and become that much better of a football player and learn that much more."

Cam Jurgens helps Jason Kelce get ready on gameday.
Cam Jurgens helps Jason Kelce get ready on gameday.

While Kelce was a tremendous player and even better teammate, his leadership was first class and well respected around the building.

Jurgens is slowly adopting some of those leadership habits as he adjusts to a locker room without Kelce. Jurgens has taken second-year guard Tyler Steen under his wing. Steen was given Jurgens' former locker, right next to where Kelce used to sit.

Jurgens applauded Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Jeff Stoutland for creating an inclusive culture in the offensive line room where every player can take on a leadership role.

"We have a really good O-line room," Jurgens said. "Everybody is willing to help, and nobody is too big. It is fun being in that room because nobody is afraid to ask for help and nobody is too big to give it. It is fun being in a selfless room, we have some really good dudes in there."

That environment was elevated by Kelce, and now Jurgens knows how to take charge in the room after watching his predecessor do so for two years.

Even without Kelce and no matter what position he plays, Jurgens is eager for the first snap of the new season.

"There's a sense of excitement that I'm here playing football with these guys and under these coaches," Jurgens said. "I don't think it matters where I am at, I'm just glad I'm on this team."

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