Celek Visits Bearcats During Bye Week

Brent Celek visited Cincinnati's football practice on Wednesday since the Philadelphia Eagles have the week off. Bearcat Insider spoke with the talented tight end as he watched the twentieth ranked Bearcats practice.

Brent Celek now plays football for a living after being drafted in the fifth round earlier this year by the Philadelphia Eagles, but the 6' 4"/255 pound NFL rookie hasn't forgotten the school the helped him get to his current occupation.  Celek wandered around Carson Field on Wednesday afternoon watching the Bearcats go through drills and exchanging a few laughs with his old buddies. 


When asked about the biggest adjustment he's had to make playing football in Philadelphia, Brent replied, "Just living in a big town.  I've lived in Cincinnati my whole life, and Philly is a bit different."  Brent's parents, Steve and Debbie, have prospered in the Queen City and even own their own business.  Brent seems to be following in their financial footsteps since he's already purchased a residence in Philly instead of buying himself some new wheels.  "I bought a townhouse.  I'm hoping the house is a smart investment, and the rest of my money I'm putting in the bank." 


Being the 162-nd player chosen in the 2007 NFL draft brought no guarantee that Celek would even make the Eagles' squad, but the LaSalle High School kid has already earned a surprising amount of playing time.  "I'm playing quite a bit.  I'd say I'm playing about forty plays a game on offense right now."  Brent has 3 catches for 31 yards for the 1 and 3 Eagles.


Like many young kids, Brent dreamed of one day playing on Sundays. "It's been everything I hoped for and more.  I'm living a dream.  I tell people that every day.  It's hard to complain when you're playing in the NFL.  It's my job.  It's football 24/7.  It's fun."


Despite living in Philadelphia and playing at the highest level, Celek remains as interested in the Bearcats as he ever was.  "I've been watching them, and they've been making some noise, even in our locker room.  Trent (Cole) and even some of the other guys are noticing them.  They just have to keep it up, and I think they're going to do that.  They're playing with heart."


Some ex-players might feel somewhat jealous that this year's club is enjoying the prospect of playing in front of sellout crowds for the remaining home games, but Celek said he isn't one of them.  "I'm not jealous at all.  I'm glad it's happening.  I thought it was going to happen last year, but it didn't.  I'm just happy for the guys.  I want to see them win all their games and make it to the BCS."


During his four seasons as a Bearcat, Celek played for three different UC head coaches.  Coach Minter recruited Brent and coached him as a freshman and sophomore.  Brent played for Coach Dantonio as a junior and senior before playing for Coach Kelly in the 2007 International Bowl.  He explained what he liked about Cincinnati's current leader.  "I like how quick the practices are.  They get a lot of reps, and it helps when you go to play a game.  It feels like it's a slower tempo in the game than practices."


Some detractors of the UC football program say the national ranking won't last, but Celek's opinion differs.  "After watching them play, I don't think there's anyone in the country that can stop them or beat them on defense.  That defense looks amazing to me.  They're running around flying to the ball.  They're playing passionately as I said before."


While visiting Nippert Stadium on Wednesday, the ex-Bearcat wore no Philadelphia Eagle gear.  Instead, he wore a Cincinnati shirt that is apparently getting a lot of use.  "I wear this shirt all the time.  If they keep winning, I'll keep wearing it." 


Brent has six days off, and with nationally ranked Rutgers hosting the Bearcats this Saturday, UC fans hope the 2006 2-nd team All-BIG EAST tight end will still be wearing that Cincinnati victory shirt when he returns to the City of Brotherly Love next week.

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