Eagles Trainer Details Thoughtful Gestures From Jason Kelce During Cancer Treatments

We already knew Jason Kelce was a top-tier human being, but Eagles trainer Joseph O’Pella is offering even more proof of his golden heart in the wake of his retirement.

The Eagles star opened up on this week’s episode of New Heights, the podcast he hosts with brother Travis Kelce, about the sweet gesture O’Pella made for him during his retirement press conference, when he taped his ankles “one last time” after missing his last season.

“He’s been there my entire career,” Kelce said seriously. But O’Pella seemed to view it in reverse.

The trainer took to social media to detail the “regret of not being the last person to ever tape him,” with the center proposing the idea to tape him for the emotional announcement. “That’s who he is,” the trainer emphasized at the end of a lengthy message about Kelce’s kindness.

CBS Sports snagged a screenshot of the heartfelt tribute from his private Instagram account, uploading it to TikTok alongside a sweet snap of the trainer pressing a kiss to Kelce’s cheek.

O’Pella opened up about their decade-plus-long friendship, starting in Kelce’s second year on the Eagles when he tore his knee, prompting the trainer to push to be the one to do his rehab. “What would occur over the next 12+ years would certainly impact my life in a way I never imagine[d].”

Above and beyond Kelce’s public accomplishments, O’Pella said it was “nearly indescribable” what the former center has come to mean to him and his family. “From being his Wing Bowl ‘cornerman’, to hour long rehab sessions followed by nights out on the town, to sleeping on each other’s couches to being at each other’s weddings, to Sea Isle City Polar Bear Plunges to Super Bowl appearances and a ring, we were there doing it together,” he remembered.

Unfortunately, in Kelce’s 13th-and, ultimately, final-season, O’Pella was diagnosed with cancer. Instead of taping Kelce’s ankles before each game, he was in radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Throughout that time, Kelce offered his own shore house as a getaway, offered to fund meal services for the family, and called him up when he was too sick to come to work “just to check [in] and chat about random things.”

Thankfully, as Kelce shared, O’Pella is now in remission with no “signs of it,” though he does have a surgery on the schedule to “make sure.”

Next: See Jason Kelce Body-Slam a Flaming Table After NFL Retirement Announcement

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This story was originally published March 6, 2024, 9:16 AM.

source: star-telegram

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