Last Friday, former Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek wrote a farewell letter to the Philadelphia fans as he chronicled his decision to retire. It was emotional, heartfelt, and the epitome of knowing when to leave the party before it’s too late.
Celek was drafted by the Eagles with the 162nd pick in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft. He entered the clubhouse during a transition period. As a late-round pick, Celek showed up eager and willing, and he absorbed knowledge from the present veterans like a sponge.
He promised the organization his best from the minute he was drafted until the moment he decided to hang it up, and he delivered.
For those that don’t remember, the Eagles gradually worked their way up to their Superbowl appearance in January 2005. Much like they worked their way up, advancing to the next level after each passing year, they regressed as the years passed.
Celek had that solid body, was an ambitious blocker, and had great hands that any coach would salivate over in a tight end. A decent tight end stabilizes your offense, but a great tight end enhances it.
And isn’t that what we love the most about our most storied athletes in Philadelphia? Dave Hollins never had the best talent, but he played with such a fire that made us love him. Allen Iverson was never the biggest dog in the fight, but he had the most fight in him in between the buzzers. Celek played with that special type of fire that puts him in the same conversation as the aforementioned.
He gave us everything he had, and he left it all on the field.
I understand the lore that goes hand in hand with Philadelphia. It’s a tough town to play in, the fans are too critical and they’re front-runners. I’m not saying parts of that can be inaccurate, we all know what our fan base can be sometimes.
However, for every one of those, there are at least 20 of us that continually try to pull positives because it’s all we got. We all we got, we all we need.
Brent loved it, thrived on it, and ran with it. He was one of those perfect players for Philadelphia. He didn’t care if his main function in a play was to block as long as it resulted in positive yards. And no matter how many individual accolades he got, it meant nothing without an Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.
So, Brent, you wrote a wonderfully heartfelt and well-penned letter to the Philadelphia fandom, but please let me tell you the pleasure was all ours. My fantasy team will miss you, but you earned your retirement.
You thanked us for sticking with you, but the thanks are all ours. Thank you, Brent Celek; your heart could occupy city blocks and that will cement you a place in Eagles history.