Jamaal Jackson does not believe that there's any competition for the starting center job.
"You call it a competition if you want. I don't. That's pretty much it," Jackson said. "There's no competition. Whoever's in there is the starter, point blank. I'm just out here working. Whoever the coaches feel as though that can get the job done they'll put that person in there and right now that's not me."
Rookie sixth-round pick Jason Kelce split the first-team reps with Jackson since the start of training camp. Jackson started the first two preseason games, but Kelce lined up with the first-team offense for last Thursday's all-important dress rehearsal against the Browns. Kelce returned to the first-team lineup in Saturday's practice.
"I thought he did a good job. Now listen, everybody, we all have stuff that we have to work on, but he did a nice job considering he's a young guy," head coach Andy Reid said of Kelce's performance against Cleveland. "He's one of the guys we're talking about that got a little bit better than he was in Pittsburgh and can continue to build on what he had learned there with the extended reps, so I was fairly pleased with him."
A rookie free agent signing of the Eagles in 2003, Jackson won the full-time center job in 2006 after he started the last eight games in 2005 after an injury to Hank Fraley. Jackson earned an All-Pro nod by Sports Illustrated's Peter King in that 2006 season. Jackson was an ironman at the center position having started 71 straight games until he suffered a knee injury at the end of the 2009 season. He fought to return for the start of the 2010 campaign, but tore his triceps muscle in the season opener and was placed on injured reserve.
"I feel as though I'm healthy enough to compete," said Jackson, who believes his injuries have been a factor in the decision-making process. "I didn't have any setbacks, so what can you do. I just come to work every day, just make my strengths stronger and work on my weaknesses. That's all I can do."
After Jackson won the job in 2006, Fraley was traded to the Cleveland Browns at the end of the preseason. Jackson remembers that, but is not letting it distract him.
"Nobody knows the future," said Jackson, who is the last player from the Super Bowl XXXIX team. "Right now, we just continue to come to work every day."
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