Tuesday, June 16, 2015

[PhiladelphiaEagles.com] Reinforcements Ready To Fortify O-Line - by Chris McPherson and Bo Wolf

Jason Kelce has literally played alongside Evan Mathis more than anyone else in his NFL career. Since Kelce earned a starting job as a rookie, he and Mathis have lined up side-by-side as center and guard. The two became fast friends. And yet, with Mathis no longer on the Eagles, Kelce explained why he expects the Eagles' offensive line to remain stout up front. It starts with the team's preparation.

"I didn't know that it was going to happen this soon, but I think this organization and Chip (Kelly) have made it clear that they want guys that are bought in and whatnot," Kelce said Tuesday. "It's unfortunate losing a good friend of mine and a guy that I've played with my entire career here in Philadelphia, but he was doing something in his best interests and I think the team in their best interests didn't want to go in that direction obviously. So that's just part of the business.

"I think if you look at a lot of the cuts or things that have happened since (Kelly) has been here, the most important thing that we're trying to establish here, and I think it is established, is a culture. It's a workplace where everybody's in this together, everybody's in this with one another and people look at this like it's voluntary, and that's fine, but the fact of the matter is (Mathis) was one out of 90 guys that wasn't here. So that's clearly not on the part of the team. Nobody has anything personal against Evan, I still consider him one of my best friends that I've had throughout my life actually, but this is just the nature of the business, the nature of what we're trying to build here and I don't think anybody feels ill toward Evan. He was doing something in his best interests and it didn't fit what the Eagles wanted to do."

As for Mathis' likely replacement at left guard, Kelce explained why he, the rest of the offensive line and head coach Chip Kelly all have so much faith in Allen Barbre, despite Barbre's total of one start over the last two seasons.

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