Five Eagles will wear the symbolic C on the front of their jerseys this season as defensive end Fletcher Cox, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, safety Malcolm Jenkins, center Jason Kelce, and quarterback Carson Wentz were named team captains. The players voted during a team meeting on Saturday. Head coach Doug Pederson will select a sixth captain for each game.
"I think it's a great representation of offense, defense, and special teams for the entire season," Pederson said. "It's an honor for them to wear the C on their jersey and to walk out on the field and take ownership in that and leadership in that. They're all excited about it and they're all deserving to be chosen by their teammates. It means a lot to their team."
The NFL implemented the C patch leaguewide in 2007, but this is only the second season in which the Eagles have had season-long captains. Wentz and Jenkins are both second-year captains, while Cox, Grugier-Hill, and Kelce were elected for the first time.
"Going back to last year, being voted by your peers means that much more. To see the guys that are captains alongside me, it's pretty cool," Wentz said. "Most of us have been together for a couple of years now and know this team, know this organization, the coaches, and the city really well and we have a special bond. It means a lot to me."
Jenkins understands the great responsibility that comes with being a captain and hopes he can continue to live up to that status.
"The first thing is leading by example and how you show up every single day. The other part of it is understanding that everybody has a role and everybody's role is important in knowing how each individual guy responds to different types of leadership," Jenkins said. "You have to be flexible and one of the best things I've learned about leadership is to be a good leader you have to at some point be a great follower. Everybody has something to offer and I have to be willing to let that contribution take its place."
Cox is one of the most decorated members of the defense when it comes to individual accolades as a three-time Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro selection.
"It means a lot to be voted captain. It shows that I have a lot of respect from my teammates. They believe in me and know that I am one of the leaders on this team. It's another chance to go out and lead this team," Cox said. "I've been here for seven years now and everyone knows I'm not a big rah-rah guy. I speak up when I have to. If I see something wrong I go up to a player and talk to him about it in a respectful way. If I do speak to someone, they know it means something. But we don't have much of that in this locker room. The guys take care of business and they know how to conduct themselves and be professionals."
Kelce echoed those sentiments saying that the reason for the team's success has been the guidance from players who don't have the C on their jersey.
"It feels great that my teammates feel that way and the fact that it's voted on by the guys is special, but to be honest I think we have a lot of really, really good leaders on this team," Kelce said. "I think that's one of the reasons we were so successful last year. But it is an honor and I feel good about it."
Grugier-Hill was taken back by the selection because there are players in the locker room he's followed since he was in high school in Honolulu. He realizes that the guys he's looked up to are now eyeing him.
"It holds me accountable," Grugier-Hill said. "I can't have days where I'm going down in the dumps or having the peaks and valleys because I have to be steady and consistent because there's younger guys and even older guys who are looking up to me to be that guy to hold certain rooms together."
Leadership isn't just shown on the field. Chris Maragos, Jason Peters, and Wentz were captains last season who were injured but continued to provide guidance behind the scenes.
"They stayed with the team and they sat in on meetings and they helped the team prepare to win a Super Bowl. That's true leadership," Pederson said. "This is something that is very important to me and very important to our football team. We're all in it together and we're all a big part of the success here."