BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The highlight of Brent Celek's summer so far remains his opening of a gourmet sausage/hot dog stand at Keenan's Irish Pub in North Wildwood last month.
The Philadelphia Eagles tight end was forced to sit out Friday's first full practice of training camp at Lehigh University with a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. He suffered the injury when his leg got stuck in the dirt during a brief workout Thursday afternoon and is expected to miss at least a few days.
"It's nothing major," Celek said. "I'll be fine. It doesn't feel that bad at all. It's just something we've got to be cautious about.
"I've got a little bit of time because it's still so early. But I hate sitting around when you've got all your teammates out there working hard. You just feel bad. It stinks sitting inside because you know those guys are grinding through, and in order to win a Super Bowl we need all of us out there."
Celek, who is entering his sixth season, was looking forward to the start of camp more than most. He played well last season, catching 62 passes for 811 yards and five touchdowns, but also played hurt.
After the season ended, he underwent surgery in January to repair a torn labrum in his hip and a sports hernia. He bounced back in time to participate in all of the offseason minicamps and organized team activities (OTAs).
"I was feeling real good," Celek said. "That's why it's a little bit frustrating. You try not to get down because we've got a long camp, so I've got to stay upbeat, just keep getting better. I'll be fine. There's no issue (about whether he'll be ready for the regular season)."
Third-year veteran Clay Harbor, normally the backup tight end, replaced Celek in the starting lineup during Friday's 11-on-11 scrimmages. Brett Brackett, who signed as a free agent during last season, was the backup and rookie free agent Chase Ford also took a few reps with the third team.
The Eagles were inquiring about adding some depth at that position earlier in the week, however. Former Minnesota Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe visited with the Eagles in training camp on Tuesday before signing with New England. There was also some speculation that Jeremy Shockey would be coming for a tryout, but the Eagles nixed that idea.
"You try to find the positives in everything, so I guess (Celek getting hurt so early in camp) would be it," coach Andy Reid said. "Do I want Celek out there? Yeah, I would like him out there. But we will get a good look at the young guys.
"We're looking into (whether to bring in another tight end). We just have to weigh that out. If you bring someone else in and they haven't been in a (training) camp, they've got to take the (league-mandated) three-day waiting period. Brent could be back in the next couple of days."
Before he reported to Lehigh, Celek teamed with Philadelphia neighbor and Keenan's co-owner Scott Keenan to open Prime Stache on the deck at Keenan's.
The menu board features a picture of Celek's grandfather, Ed Celek, circa 1942, who sported a mustache.
"It's funny because Brent is every bit as fascinated in my line of work as I am in his," Keenan said earlier this month. "He was always talking to me about 'Skyline Chili' in Cincinnati (Celek's hometown) and how he thought something like that would work in this area. We tested out several different things and came up with this idea and it's going very well. We're actually looking to expand into airports, colleges and hopefully some casinos in Atlantic City."
Prime Stache features 10 entrees with names such as "Selleck," "Super Mario" and "Fu Manchu" that run from $6 to $8.50. Patrons also get a fake mustache as a souvenir. They buy the hot dogs and sausages from Maglio's in Philadelphia, but all of the toppings are homemade on the premises.
Business was a little slow after they first opened on Memorial Day weekend but has been brisk throughout July, Keenan said.
"It took us about six months to really get it right, but we believe in our product," Keenan said. "It's been going well. We've been trying to educate people down the shore that a quick bite to eat after the beach or whatever doesn't necessarily have to mean a slice of pizza on the boardwalk."
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