Plenty around the NFL have been up in arms over Doug Pederson's decision to pull quarterback Jalen Hurts late in the Philadelphia Eagles' Week 17 game against Washington Football Team, accusing the coach of tanking for a better 2021 draft pick. Even some Eagles have spoken out, suggesting "nobody liked" the move, which accelerated Washington's path to a playoff berth. But longtime center Jason Kelce has now gone on record to deny additional reports about players apparently confronting Pederson about it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane reported this week that Kelce directly questioned Pederson during Sunday's game, and that at least two others were held back from approaching the coach. Kelce, however, has indicated no such drama unfolded.
"Thought I would clear the air just to clarify and more accurately depict what happened during the game on Sunday," he wrote on Instagram. "At the end of the third quarter, I was told on the bench that (Nate) Sudfeld was going in the game. I went up to Doug and asked if he was taking Hurts out, (and) 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 ... 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 four years, to get an opportunity in a real game to show the world what he can do."
"There's a reason (Nate)'s been here this long," Kelce continued, "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 (of when) the move happened ... but every one of us did our best, and all of us believe we can win with Nate Sudfeld. It was a 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."