After flirting with retirement following the conclusion of the 2022 season that saw his team win the NFC, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce announced that he would be returning for the 2023 season in search of a second Super Bowl title.
One player not returning to the defending NFC East champs, however, is offensive guard Isaac Seumalo, who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the offseason following seven seasons in Philadelphia.
According to Kelce, losing Semalo is a particularly unique blow to the team, as he claims that the 29-year-old Oregon State University product is the “smartest player he’s ever been around.”
“I think he’s one of the best guards in the NFL, and I think he has been,” Kelce said, according to the NFL’s official website. “I think he’s one of the most consistent players I’ve ever been around, one of the most consistent people I’ve ever been around. So we’re not going to replace Isaac, there’s going to be someone new in there, and they’re going to have their attributes that they’re going to excel with, and I’m looking forward to seeing who does a really good job with that.”
Kelce, who said he intends to play for “at least” this season, continued to shower Semalo with praise and lamented the fact that the Steelers were able to sign him away from the Eagles.
“Isaac is a really, really special player,” Kelce said. “I know we’ve said that here for a long time, and I still don’t think people really truly grasp what he did for our room. And me personally, I think he’s probably the smartest player I’ve ever been around. Really, really gifted physically, mentally, across the board. So I think the Steelers are getting a steal, that’s a good pun, I guess.”
Despite the loss of Semalo and other key pieces such as Miles Sanders, Javon Hargrave, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and T.J. Edwards, Kelce and the Eagles are still expected to be title contenders next season as their current betting odds only trail the Kansas City Chiefs, the team that beat them in the Super Bowl last year.