Jason Kelce has been a model of consistency and reliability in 2020.
The three-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro center is the only Eagles offensive lineman to start every game this season, a unit that has fielded 10 different starting combinations. He's only missed a grand total of four snaps. In the one game he missed time, Week 11 at Cleveland, he returned from an elbow injury and earned Pro Football Focus Team of the Week honors for his gutsy performance.
On Thursday, the NFL announced that Kelce is one of 32 nominees for the prestigious Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.
"I got so much respect for him as a football player on and off the football field. He's somebody that does things right all the time and his game may not be perfect each week, but this guy, he practices, and plays hurt. He gives of himself for his teammates. He's a great leader, not only in the offensive line room but I think on this football team. It's one of the reasons I make him a captain every year and the team respects that and the team looks at that," Head Coach Doug Pederson recently said about Kelce.
"I love this guy – what he can do as a center, how he moves, how he gets to second-level defenders, how smart he is in protection. It's just amazing to me. I've never really been around a player, an offensive lineman of his caliber that does what he does day in and day out and a ton of respect for Jason."
The 10th-year center recently celebrated a key milestone – Monday night's game against Seattle marked his 100th consecutive start, the longest streak by an Eagles center since the 1970 merger (previously 95 games by Guy Morriss from 1977-83). It's the longest active streak among all NFL centers.
"I just know that he is a tough son of a gun. Probably the toughest player on our team and plays through whatever," running back Miles Sanders said. "He does whatever it takes to stay on the field and help us win. Even in practice, when he can take easy days, he is always there practicing."
Established in 2014 in honor of the late founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famer, the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award winner is determined by a vote of current NFL players. A panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community will choose eight finalists from the pool of 32 before the players select the winner on December 18.
The winner will be announced as part of the NFL Honors in February. He will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice.