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The day after his 31st birthday, Brent Celek has another reason to celebrate. On Tuesday afternoon, he and the Eagles agreed to terms on a new three-year contract that will keep the tight end in Philadelphia through the 2018 season.
A nine-year veteran, Celek has continuously been a dominant force for his team. The tight end has 371 catches, 4,713 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns to his name, ranking him second all time among Eagles tight ends in the three categories. He trails only Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Famer Pete Retzlaff. Additionally, his receptions are also tied for fifth most in franchise history, standing as a testament to the work Celek has put in each year.
In the first nine years of his NFL career, tight end Brent Celek has suited up and played in 143 games. For as physical as Celek has been as a pass catcher and a blocker, he’s missed just one game out of 144. The game came in 2012, when Celek sat out against the Cincinnati Bengals on a Thursday night in December. A shortened week held him back from passing through the league’s concussion protocol in time to play.
“It (ticks) me off, but it’s in the past now,” said Celek of missing the game against his hometown team. “I got my one, so hopefully never again.”
At 31 years old, Celek is participating in his 10th Training Camp with the Eagles. While the veteran has a different perspective and more experience than some of the younger players on the team, he still needs a few days to get adjust to the daily Training Camp grind.
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Brent Celek has undoubtedly been one of the best tight ends in Eagles history. He’s the longest-tenured non-specialist on the roster now and is second in franchise history among tight ends in virtually every receiving category, but at the wholesale Eagles jerseys time of the 2007 NFL Draft, Celek didn’t know what to expect.
Coming out of Cincinnati, Celek was one of the biggest Combine snubs that year, something he says lit a fire under him. When his named was called by the Philadelphia Eagles, he was ready to get to work. Now, the tight end has 4,713 career receiving yards and 30 career touchdowns to his name. Reflecting back on his own draft experience, Celek wouldn’t change a thing. He’s an Eagle through and through.
Now in his 10th professional season (all with the same team, a list that includes only 10 active NFL skill-position players with at least 150 games of regular season experience) Celek’s been there for the peaks, catching 19 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns during a playoff run to the 2008 NFC Championship Game against Arizona. He’s been there for the valleys – seeing the Eagles go 4-12 in 2012, the team’s worst record since the 1998 campaign.
He’s been through different coaches and different systems. He flourished as one of the best yards-after-catch tight ends in the NFL under Andy Reid. He transformed into one of the league’s best blocking tight ends in Chip Kelly’s high-octane, rushing-focused system. He’s seen coordinators, head coaches and teammates come and go.
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Anthony Denham was a rookie free agent signing of the Texans in 2014. He finished his rookie season on the Texans’ active roster. He originally joined the Eagles’ practice squad in October. Denham was released, but returned mid-December.
Next season, the Eagles will play six games against their NFC East opponents, while also taking on all of the NFC West and AFC West teams to go along with the same-place finishers from the NFC South and NFC North.
As the Eagles continue to build the roster for the 2016 season, the team secured a key depth player on Wednesday, re-signing Najee Goode to a one-year contract.
It’s not one of the deepest position groups in the draft, but there are some seriously talented linebacker prospects in the 2017 class. Whether it’s the super-talented top prospect in Reuben Foster, the flashy Jabrill Peppers, the uber-athlete in Zach Cunningham or the sleepers like Jayon Brown and Anthony Walker, there are a lot of names to be aware of this week in Indianapolis. Let’s look at who we expect to shine at the Combine.