The Eagles held their 17th annual playground build at W.D. Kelley Elementary School in Brewerytown on Wednesday. Nearly 300 Eagles employees, including players and coaches, helped built and paint. They also played with the students and signed autographs.
“The commitment to the community and days like today will never change,” owner Jeffrey Lurie said. “Styles may change on the field, and direction may change on the field, but off the field, we have to be all in and 100 percent committed to the Philadelphia community.”
Lurie spoke about the looks on the students' faces when the players arrive, and the thrill for them in the players coming to their community. Quarterback Michael Vick received the biggest ovation when the players filed off the bus, and DeSean Jackson was a constant attraction for autographs.
One player missing was left tackle Jason Peters, who continues to be absent from the team. Attendance is not mandatory at this point in the year. Lurie said Peters has “his own personal reasons” for not being with the team and that he empathizes with Peters.
(I did not see safety Kenny Phillips, who is with the team but suffering from a knee injury, at the event. When Chip Kelly was asked if all the players were in attendance, he thought that was the case.)
This was Kelly's first playground build, and he picked up a paint brush and started painting. Lurie joked that Kelly would be a quick an unorthodox painter, an ode to his coaching. This is one area, though, where Kelly was not unorthodox.
"I don't think outside the box when it comes to painting," Kelly said. "I understand my role and I follow it very well."
He kept the mood light on Wednesday, including joking with running backs coach Duce Staley about the amount of work they were doing. Kelly has been busy at the team's facility since he was hired January, and has not had much time yet to see different parts of the city.
"I believe it's an obligation, that you should give back to the community when you get some time," Kelly said. "It's fun for the kids, it's really fun for us, too. It's a win-win situation."
Contact Zach Berman at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.