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Cam Jurgens Starting Center with Jason Kelce Mending from Elbow Surgery

The rookie talked about the opportunity and head coach Nick Sirianni talked about Kelce's injury and what he has seen from Jurens in camp so far
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PHILADELPHIA – There were summer days at Nebraska where Cam Jurgens said he felt like he would never see the light of day, with endless indoor practice after endless indoor practice.

It was thought that he wouldn’t see the light of day in the lineup when the Eagles drafted him in the second round last spring only to find a roadblock named Jason Kelce in his way. 

Jurgens was considered a luxury pick, a player who would likley redshirt behind a center that has made 122 straight starts without missing one since the 2014 season.

It may still turn out that way, but right now Jurgens is the starting center after Kelce had elbow surgery.

“We were in a situation where he had some discomfort in there and we have time to handle that so he can play the season,” said head coach Nick Sirianni about what led to the procedure on his center. 

“You know he’s going to have to go through other things throughout the season so it’s something the doctors, Jason, and myself felt comfortable to get it cleaned out and be ready for the long haul ahead.”

Sirianni never puts a timetable on a player’s return but said he was hopeful Kelce would be back in time for the season opener in Detroit.

“How many games, 122 games in a row he’s played?” said the coach. “If he’s close, the track record says he’s going to be ready to go.”

Until such time arrives, Jurgens is the next man up.

The Eagles aren’t moving Isaac Suemalo or Landon Dickerson from their guard posts.

This is why Jurgens was selected 51st overall.

Cam Jurgens takes the field on July 29, 2022

Cam Jurgens

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“Kelce’s down right now, so I just have to do my best to fill in there,” said Jurgens following Wednesday’s practice. “It’s good for me because I get those extra opportunities, those extra reps. It’s a good opportunity for me. 

"I feel like I get more ready every single day. I’m excited and ready to go play some more football and hit someone other than someone on our team. I feel like every day I’m getting better.”

The Eagles will host the New York Jets on Friday night in the preseason opener, and Jurgens will be in the middle of a starting offensive line that is likely to play a series or two, per Sirianni.

Jurgens talked about how different things have been in his first pro camp vs. college at Nebraska.

“It’s different here because it’s so much more detail,” he said. “In college, they kind of grind your body down. It’s how many reps, how many plays you can get done in a day, how hard you can go. 

"Where here it’s like how hard can you train your mind to do a perfect rep every single time because we’re not doing 100 plays, we’re going to get a certain amount then we go walkthrough, but that intensity and I think the detail is a lot sharper at this level without a doubt.”

During the first nine days of camp, Jurgens has been like a little brother to Kelce. The veteran always seems to be in the rookie’s ear about different things and sometimes demonstrates a technique during individual work.

“I’ve seen him be like a sponge around Jason,” said Sirianni. “There are times out there…listen, there’s only one Jason Kelce but there are times out there he’s doing something and you’re like, ‘Hey that kind of looked like Jason.’ 

"Cam’s done a nice job of picking everything up and he’s in Jason’s ear trying to get as much information as he can, learning from the vet.”

As much as Kelce has helped, Jurgens pointed out the line is a mostly veteran group, with Isaac Seumalo and Lane Johnson, especially, to his right. To his left are second-year guard Landon Dickerson and former Australian rugby project Jordan Mailata.

“It’s great to have Isaac, Landon, Jordan, and Lane there because we’re all one cohesive unit,” said Jurgens. “We’re all giving advice to each other. We all look for the same stuff. It helps when everybody’s working together.

“I think a big part of it is learning defenses and seeing just how well people in the NFL disguise things and what they do to try to trick the offense. It’s a big mind game. It’s fun to kind of dissect that and learn more.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.