Persistence pays off for emotional Eagles center Kelce
A hugely emotional Jason Kelce struggled to hold back tears as he reflected on his journey from walk-on linebacker to victorious Super Bowl center with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Kelce helped the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII and opened up on his circuitous route to the top when addressing reporters post-match.
His voice repeatedly cracking with emotion, the 30-year-old said: "The last two weeks after we won, I found myself in the shower crying, dreaming of this moment.
"I've worked so hard in my life to get here, and everything culminates. I can't help but think to a quote my grandfather gave from Calvin Coolidge [the 30th US president] about persistence. I'm not gonna say it because it's a little long and it'll drag on, but he gave me that quote when I was 18 years old, when I was not given a scholarship to play at any Division I university.
"My father and mother told me to stay after my dream and I've officially accomplished the best thing in this sport with a group of guys that mean the world to me, because really persistence has summed up my whole career, summed up my whole life.
"Just keep going, just keep moving forward. No matter what obstacle comes in your way, just keep moving forward."
Despite ending the regular season with a 13-3 record, the Eagles were viewed as underdogs throughout the playoffs after quarterback Carson Wentz was ruled out with a torn ACL.
Wentz's replacement, Nick Foles, excelled in the NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings, before starring again the claim MVP honours in the Super Bowl.
"The resiliency of this team is incredible," Kelce added. "We've all talked about it, but when you really sit back and think, a lot of you guys picked us to finish dead last in the NFC East.
"As the season went along, nobody gave us any inclination that we were the best team in the NFL, especially after injuries started happening, which is understandable.
"But the fact that we were able to overcome everything, just keep moving forward, I can't help but be a little bit emotional."
Hailing Foles, Kelce said: "I don't know if you guys were here in 2013, but he was playing unbelievable for us. Obviously, some things haven't gone his way since then, but we all knew he's a good player.
"If we can protect him, give him time to throw, with the receivers he has and the arm that he has, we knew he could get the job done. For him to go out there on the biggest stage possible and play the way he did today, I'm so happy for that guy."