Jason Kelce Announces Retirement

Photo of Jason Kelce in conference press announcing his retirement.

Following 13 seasons in the NFL, Jason Kelce, the center for the Philadelphia Eagles, has retired. In an emotional 45-minute press conference at the NovaCare Complex in South Philadelphia, Kelce was joined by his parents, Ed and Donna, as well as his brother Travis Kelce, who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. Donning a sleeveless Eagles T-shirt, the 36-year-old welled up with tears and remarked, “Let’s see how long this lasts.”

During his emotional address, Kelce looked back on his impressive journey with the Eagles, expressing gratitude to those who played a role in his achievements, both in Philadelphia and during his upbringing. Kelce, who dedicated 13 seasons to the Eagles, experienced the pinnacle of success with a Super Bowl win and even delved into music with the release of two Christmas albums.

“It’s always been a personal goal of mine to remain with one team throughout my entire career, and Philadelphia has been the perfect fit,” Kelce commented. “As I look ahead, I eagerly anticipate the new challenges and opportunities that await. The lessons I’ve learned during my time here will always be a part of me, and we’ll forever share the bond of being Philadelphians.”

Kelce, drafted by Philadelphia in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL draft from the University of Cincinnati, played under four different head coaches: Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson, and Nick Sirianni.

Over the course of his career, Kelce received seven Pro Bowl nods and was honored as an All-Pro six times, including in 2023.

Kelce acknowledged, “I must admit, I am officially labeled as overrated. Significantly so.” He reflected on the arduous journey and unwavering determination that brought him to this point. Throughout his career, he embraced the role of the underdog, expressing genuine nostalgia for those times.

He found immense satisfaction in proving doubters wrong, recalling his mother’s words of motivation that continue to resonate with him. Kelce thrived on skepticism, finding it to be a source of inspiration. He will be eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2029.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie struggled to articulate Kelce’s profound impact on the organization, the city of Philadelphia, and the fans. He praised Kelce’s 13 years of dedicated service, emphasizing his authenticity and exceptional talent. Lurie pondered whether there has ever been a more perfect alignment between a player, a city, and a team.

Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland expressed his gratitude to Jason Kelce on social media, reminiscing about their shared coaching moments over the past 11 seasons. He expressed immense pride in Kelce’s growth as a player and the lasting legacy he leaves behind. Stoutland acknowledged that he will miss Kelce’s presence by his side, extending heartfelt congratulations on an exceptional career.

Jason Kelce looked back on his famous speech during the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade in 2018, recognizing that while it elevated his status to legendary in Philadelphia, the true essence of that moment belonged to the city itself. He stressed his strong bond with Philadelphia, considering it his second home.

At 36 years old, Kelce emphasized that the parade held significance beyond personal accolades, highlighting the collective happiness it brought to the city and the deep sense of satisfaction it brought to generations of fans.

He recalled touching moments from the parade, like meeting a woman carrying the ashes of a deceased loved one who had pledged not to miss the celebration if the Eagles ever won. Jason Kelce emphasized that the speech he delivered was not his own creation but rather a reflection of the shared experiences and emotions of the players, the team, and the entire community of Philadelphia.

Jason Kelce Offers Insights on Being an Athlete in Philadelphia

“As an athlete, there are moments of frustration, especially for newcomers to the city. However, over time, you come to appreciate it. Philadelphia stands out in its fervent support for its own. Athletes, even those with lengthy careers, are highly respected here. The Eagles command the city’s attention, dominating conversations on a regular basis.

Yet, with this level of spotlight comes the expectation to weather the inevitable challenges and accept criticism. They won’t hesitate to voice their disappointment when performance falls short. Every time. However, they’ll also embrace those who show effort, determination, and resilience. In Philadelphia, you’re admired if you demonstrate the same level of passion for the city as you would for your own family.

You earn their loyalty by going the extra mile, proving your dedication matches theirs. For generations, this community has invested deeply in its team and won’t accept anything less than full commitment and effort.

If you find yourself at odds with the fans and media, the solution is straightforward: reciprocate their affection. Treat them with the same care and respect you would your own kin. Then, go out and give your best effort. Display your emotions openly, and you’ll undoubtedly shift the narrative.”


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