Eagles veteran center Jason Kelce posted a long statement on Wednesday morning, clearing the air on what happened on Sunday night in the team’s loss to Washington, and denying reports that things became “confrontational” on the sideline.
Kelce’s full statement, which he posted on Instagram:
“Thought I would clear the air just to clarify and more accurately depict what happened during the game on Sunday. At the end of the third quarter I was told on the bench that Sudfeld was going into the game. I went up to Doug and asked him if he was taking Hurts out, he said “yes, I think Nate’s earned the right to play,” I said “everyone else is staying in?,” he said “absolutely”. I then went to find Suddy. Started taking snaps on the sideline with him, called the other linemen over and had them listen to his snap count to make sure everyone was on the rhythm of his cadence, and then went out for the next drive. At no point was anything from me or anyone else confrontational. We all knew leading into the game that Sudfeld was told to be ready to play, and that Doug wanted to see what he could do in a game situation. All of us during the week leading up were excited for Nate, a guy that has been with us for 4 years to get an opportunity in a real game to show the world what he can do. We all have complete confidence in Nate as a player, there’s a reason he’s been here this long, and a reason the team brought him back. And that’s because we feel like Nate is a guy we can win with. I understand the optics of how it looked, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little surprised given the circumstances that the move happened when it did, but every one of us did our best, and all of us believe we can win with Nate Sudfeld. It was difficult situation to be put into, especially when you have a 10-year veteran center who doesn’t snap the ball to you accurately on your second drive of the game. I know we can win games with Nate, because I know Suddy can play, it didn’t work out on Sunday, but as always, that’s not just on him.”
Kelce’s statement comes after a Philadelphia Inquirer report stated that some players on the sideline were angered by the decision to pull Jalen Hurts, and that two defensive players had to be “held back” from approaching Pederson. Kelce’s statement seems to indicate that there was no issue on the sideline with the decision.
On Tuesday, however, Eagles running back Miles Sanders said that players were not happy with Pederson pulling Hurts.
“Man if I'm being honest, nobody liked the decision, nobody," Sanders told Joe DeCamara and Jon Ritchie on Tuesday's 94WIP Midday Show. "That's all I can say really. I don't know who was the main person behind that decision. All I know is that a lot of people on the team was confused.”
The confusion that playing Sudfeld seemed to create has been one of the top criticisms of the decision, which Sanders indicates. Kelce, however, makes it clear that everyone knew there was a chance Sudfeld was going to go into the game.
It is also noteworthy that Kelce sticks up for Sudfeld, who has seen his name unfairly dragged through the mud the last few days.
Kelce’s statement should go a long way in ending any speculation that Pederson might have lost the locker room by taking out Hurts in a meaningless game.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at email@example.com!