Eagles' Jason Kelce expects full recovery in time for training camp
Jason Kelce walked across a stage at a local elementary school on Friday, showing no ill signs of a knee injury that halted his 2012 season in the second game.
The Eagles center started running and doing field drills three weeks ago, roughly six months after the medial collateral ligament in Kelce's right knee was completely torn and the ACL was partially torn. He'll start plyometrics and cutting when a custom brace soon arrives.
Kelce made an appearance on Friday at the W.D. Kelley Elementary School in Brewerytown to read to students as part of Read Across America Day. Students received a book of their choice and an Eagles bookmark and met Kelce, who read a poem. Kelce will return to the school in May for the Eagles Youth Partnership's annual playground build.
By that time, Kelce will be close to a return to the field.
"It's coming along real well," Kelce said. "Right now, the target date with how I've been rehabbing is somewhere in the minicamps. The first one I might be a little bit limited, but the second one, we'll go for it."
Kelce, who expects to be at full speed for training camp and the regular season, plans to wear braces on both knees during games regardless of how well he's feeling. That's what he did in college, and he stopped after he got to the NFL.
"I don't want to go through this again," he said.
Kelce currently weighs 285 pounds. He played the past two seasons at 295 pounds, although he's still waiting to hear what the coaching staff wants him to weigh. He noted the scientific approach that the coaching staff and training staff is taking with each player, and how much they should weigh based on their body type.
"I love them," Kelce said of the new staff. "I liked Andy [Reid] a lot, too. That's kind of how offensive linemen are - they usually love playing for whoever's coaching the team - but Chip's very exciting. Because everything he does has a reason behind it. Everything he does, he explains to you. If not scientifically why it works, then at least he'll give studies or examples. So it's very easy to buy in."
When Kelce was in college at Cincinnati, his team utilized the zone read in its offense. He has experience and familiarity with what to do in that system, although he remains uncertain what the Eagles will run.
"It doesn't change up much for the O-line," said Kelce, who noted that it's actually easier for offensive linemen because the quarterback makes the read on the play.
The biggest adjustment might be with playing weight, but that's not an issue for Kelce, who is already lean for an offensive lineman. The bigger linemen would need to adjust, but Kelce emphasized that it's all speculation until they know the offense the Eagles will run.
There is similar ambiguity about quarterback. The offense could change depending upon whether Michael Vick or Nick Foles is the quarterback. When the Eagles kept Vick in Philadelphia, it did not just surprise the fan base.
"I was surprised, to tell you the truth," Kelce said. "I thought he was kind of gone after the season, but after they hired Chip, you got the feeling that there was at least a possibility they could keep him."
Still, there will be considerable roster turnover when the Eagles convene for organized team activities. Defensive linemen Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins were released this week as the Eagles change their defensive scheme and become younger with more salary flexibility. But that could just be the beginning of more moves to come.
"That was the expectation after the season," Kelce said. "First of all, a coaching change coming in. But second of all, you knew they were going to try to get the guys who they thought were responsible for the 4-12 out of there."
Contact Zach Berman at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.