As intense as the competition was for the Eagles on the field in the spring practices all the way through the mandatory minicamp, there was another competition going on off the field that was every bit as competitive.
Head coach Doug Pederson and the strength and conditioning team give the players a chance to compete against each other in offseason activities – tug of war, agility drills, strength tests, for example – and the players take it seriously.
The winner is … once again … center Jason Kelce.
"He won it two years ago and he won it again this spring. That guy is unbelievable. He's a stud. I love him," Pederson said. "He comes to work every day wanting to be better, wanting to be coached, coaching other players. He does a great job."
Kelce has long been known as one of the best athletes on the team and his work ethic is second to none. He wins a "championship" belt for taking the overall strength and conditioning award for the offseason.
And he's pretty pumped to have won it.
"I guess it means that I'm the best on the team at offseason workouts," Kelce said, laughing, in the locker room. "I've got some bragging rights and I like to have fun with that. Look, it's just a great way for all of us to work out and challenge each other. That's what it's all about. I enjoy the offseason, I enjoy competing and pushing myself and we have this competition and we all really get a kick out of it."
The idea of the offseason, from Pederson's point of view, is to create friendly competition and build chemistry. Mission accomplished. What started in mid-April ended on Thursday and Pederson was pleased with the way the locker room, full of new faces, came together on and off the field.
"Time will tell as we move down the road, but I think the new guys embraced culture and what we've established here," Pederson said. "I've seen some really good growth with the team. The veteran players have bought into that and are leading the way and the younger guys are following. It's been a lot of fun and very rewarding to watch."