On Monday, the Eagles announced the hiring of Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson to serve as their new head coach. The 47-year-old is a familiar face for fans in Philadelphia, as he started nine games for the Eagles at quarterback in 1999 and also served as an assistant coach on the offensive side of the ball for the team from 2009-12. But while Pederson has established roots in Philadelphia, his presence will be something new for most of the players he's now charged with leading.
Since 2012, Pederson's last season in Philadelphia before joining the staff of former Eagles head coach Andy Reid in Kansas City, only five offensive players remain on the roster today – Jason Peters, Dennis Kelly, Brent Celek, Riley Cooper and Jason Kelce. Following the Eagles' season finale against the Giants, Kelce was asked about the potential of being reunited with Pederson, who served as the team's quarterbacks coach during the center's first two professional seasons in 2011 and 2012.
"I liked Doug a lot when he was here," said Kelce. "He connects with the players very well. He has a lot of those personality traits that makes him likable and good with players, and that's besides the facts of what he knows on offense and all of the schematics."
On Monday, Doug Pederson arrived in Philadelphia and was officially named the Eagles head coach ...
More than any of the four teammates who share his connection to Pederson, Kelce has likely paid closest attention to the post-Eagles career of the young coach. The 28-year-old center is one of two Kelces in the NFL, along with his younger brother, Travis Kelce, a tight end with Kansas City. The younger Kelce has spent his entire three-year career under the guidance of Pederson, who has helped him become one of the best tight ends in the game.
Over the past two seasons, Travis Kelce has caught 139 balls for 1,737 yards and 10 touchdowns, leading the Chiefs in all three categories during that span. The young tight end credits a large portion of his success to Pederson's impressive offensive mind, noting also that the former quarterback is an incredibly approachable and thoughtful leader.
"In terms of offensive minds, I don't know how much better they get," the younger Kelce told reporters in Kansas City last week. "He understands what defensive coaches want to present, he understands strategy and things like that. For the most part, he's a relatable guy, guys want to play for him. It's hard to kind of describe that, his character makes it easy to be yourself and go out there and do the things you have to do."
When the Eagles began their search for a new head coach, the team's Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie noted that in addition to all the typical qualities one looks for in a head coach, the Eagles needed to hire someone with great emotional intelligence. In Doug Pederson, it's clear that the Kelce brothers believe the Eagles have found someone with the complete package.
- READ: Eagles Name Doug Pederson Head Coach
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- READ: Reaction To Doug Pederson's Hire
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- VIDEO: Pederson's Journey From Player To Head Coach
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- PHOTO COLLAGE: A Spectacular Look At Pederson's Career