Brent Celek Living Up That Playoff Feeling Again

It had been 3,289 days since Brent Celek had felt this feeling. It had been 3,289 days since the Eagles had won a playoff game.

And Celek was probably enjoying it more than anybody else in the locker room and appreciating it more than anybody else in the locker room.

Celek was a 23-year-old, second-year tight end when the Eagles beat the Vikings and Giants in the 2008 playoffs to reach the NFC Championship Game in Arizona.

He's the only guy left from that team, and on Saturday night, he experienced a postseason victory for the first time since then as the Eagles beat the Falcons at the Linc to advance to Sunday's NFC title game vs. Minnesota.

"It feels so good," Celek said. "It really does. I know we've still got a ways to go here, but today? It feels real good and I'm excited for this team. 

"With everything that we've really had to go through to get to this point? Are you kidding? And I know a lot of people haven't believed in us because of all those things. But we did it. And we're doing it. It's so sweet."

Celek, now 32, is one of only three players still in the NFL from that 2008 team. DeSean Jackson and Quintin Demps were both rookies in 2008 and both played their 10th season this year, Jackson with the Buccaneers, Demps with the Bears.

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Celek recorded his 27th career postseason reception Saturday night during the Eagles' second-quarter touchdown drive and played 26 snaps on offense and six more on special teams.

He may not be as big a factor on offense as he was in 2008 when he caught a franchise-record 19 passes for 151 yards and three TDs in the postseason. 

But he's still a huge part of this team, both as a blocking tight end and occasional receiver, but also as a true locker room leader. His teammates all said Celek's address to the team last week about seizing the moment was incredibly inspiring.

"I think I understand what's going on now and just how important it is to take advantage of these opportunities, because you never know when they're going to happen again," he said.

"When I was younger, I was like, ‘This is great, this is fun,' but I think now the appreciation for it is so much greater. You really understand what it takes to get here."

Celek sat at his locker long after the game was over Saturday night and long after a lot of his younger teammates had left, just soaking in the moment. 

He said he never doubted he'd experience playoff success again, but that's just how he is. You'll never meet a more positive person.

"Listen, when you're in this business, you've got to believe," he said. "You can't be sitting on the sidelines doubting anything. I'm a a firm believer in that. 

"Even at the end of the game, when it was 4th and 2 at the goal-line, I was thinking, ‘We got this. We've been here before. We've been doing this all year, and we're going to continue doing it.'

"Then the defense stops them. So awesome."

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