On March 18, the Eagles released Brent Celek. It was a move that left the Eagles with only one of the tight ends from their Super Bowl run on the roster.
Having missed only one game in his 11-year career, it was no surprise that Celek found interest in the free agent market and received multiple offers. Those offers didn’t matter to Celek, however, as none came from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Celek expressed just that in his retirement letter:
I can clearly remember the day I was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. I was in the basement of my parents’ house. So many friends and family members over, and lots and lots of food. I didn’t eat much. Not sure if I was going to get drafted, I waited, feeling panicked. I mean, I wasn’t even invited to the combine. Then the phone rang: It was a 215 area code. As I answered, the person on the other end of the line said he was a representative of the Philadelphia Eagles and that he was going to hand the phone over to Coach Andy Reid. Listening to Coach Reid say they were selecting me with the 162nd pick was life-changing. I vowed to him, and to the organization, that from that day forward they were going to get all of me. Nothing less.
Eleven years later I was part of a team that won the first Super Bowl in Philadelphia history. It has been an amazing journey - a journey that is now coming to an end. It’s a big decision, but it’s not a tough one: Though I know I’m still capable of playing football at a high level, and though I had offers to continue my NFL career, my heart told me that this was the time. The bottom line was this: When I thought long and hard about the prospect of putting on another uniform, it just seemed wrong. In the end, I couldn’t do it. My career began, and ended, with the Philadelphia Eagles - and man, did we go out in style.
It was a couple days ago that Celek informed the Eagles of his decision to call it a career, but it was this morning that he released his farewell statement on the Eagles website. He also put up a billboard to thank the city.
Current Eagle Zach Ertz took to Twitter to express how Celek has helped him develop into the top target he is now.
The greatest mentor I could have asked for. @BrentCelek, forever grateful to you for showing me the ropes in Philly, on and off the field. Congratulations on your retirement! #SuperBowlChamp #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/0Cklg2PlmK— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) August 31, 2018
Celek embodied the blue-collar mentality of Eagles fans and will go down as one of the greatest tight ends in Eagles history. His full statement thanking the team and it’s fans can be read on the Eagles website.