BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce said he has been “picking the brains” of the few teammates who have experienced the two-week buildup to the Super Bowl as a player.
Two of them were in this position just 12 months ago, albeit it while with the team the Eagles will attempt to win their first Super Bowl title against come Sunday.
Running back LeGarrette Blount won two rings during his three seasons in New England, while defensive end Chris Long picked up his first ring in his only season with the Patriots in 2016. They have been imparting that championship mentality on their Eagles teammates.
“It was an amazing experience,” Blount said Wednesday of his time with the Patriots. “If you’ve been a part of it personally, there’s nothing bad that you can say.”
Blount and Long are seeking to join Deion Sanders and Ken Norton Jr. as the only players in NFL history to win consecutive Super Bowls with different franchises. Three other players have been on Super Bowl-winning teams in back-to-back years, but only Sanders and Norton actually played in both championship games.
“It’s rewarding to be part of two great teams in two years,” said Long. “I’m definitely lucky, because there are a lot of guys who never get to experience this.”
Trying to win titles with different teams is about where the similarities end for the former Patriots trying to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Philadelphia. Long was asked about the personality of the two teams and specifically what differentiates Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Eagles coach Doug Pederson.
“They’re different just like you and me are different,” a quizzical Long responded to a reporter pressing for details. “Their personalities are definitely different, but you can win in a lot of different ways.”
Blount said he “can only imagine” what it would be like to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Philadelphia, but cautioned that it will take close to a perfect game to beat his former teammates Sunday.
“Obviously, you can look at Bill’s resume and he’s the best of all time … same with Tom (Brady),” said Blount. “We’re going to do everything we can to give ourselves a chance to go down in history.”
–Pederson, who turned 50 on Wednesday, said he will have Brett Favre addressed the team Saturday. The two were teammates when Favre quarterbacked the Green Bay Packers to a victory over New England in Super Bowl XXXI.
“I know Brett’s going to be here,” Pederson said. “He’s got some obligations he’s going to do this week, and he and I still stay in touch. We’re great friends. We were teammates for eight years in Green Bay, and I figured since he was going to be in town, I just asked him.”
–Similar to the Patriots, the Eagles boast a backfield deep with talented backs with different skill-sets. That includes Jay Ajayi, who was acquired midseason amid rumors that he was a negative presence in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room.
Pederson said on Tuesday that Ajayi has been “awesome” since arriving to Philadelphia, and several Eagles players have acknowledged that they sat down with Ajayi to set expectations with his new team.
“I knew if I didn’t do my part and practice hard, that I would be a disappointment,” said Ajayi. “Obviously, when I went through the emotions of being traded and started going through the practices, you see this team has all the pieces to go all the way.
“I’m striving to showcase to the world what I can do … and what this team can do.”
One of the unknowns for Super Bowl LII is how Pederson will split carries between Blount, Ajayi and Corey Clement. Ajayi has at least 12 carries in each of the Eagles’ past five games, while Blount has been limited to an average of 7.2 carries during that same span.
Pederson sat down with Blount along with general manager Howie Roseman and running backs coach Deuce Staley to inform Blount of the midseason trade to add Ajayi.
“There’s a difference in wanting to get the ball, and making a big deal about getting the ball,” said Blount. “There wasn’t anything to ‘accept.’ You can’t have too many playmakers, and we got a lot of playmakers.”
–After meeting with the media, the Eagles left the confines of JW Marriott at the Mall of America for their first practice of the week at the University of Minnesota.
“It feels like we’ve been her for a week already,” said safety Malcolm Jenkins. “We’ve been watching the same tape and the same film forever. We’re excited to get back on the field and get rid of that stale feeling.”
–Derek Harper, Field Level Media