Jason Kelce Officially Announces Retirement After 13 Seasons With Eagles

After months of speculation, All-Pro center Jason Kelce is finally ready to call it a career after over a decade with the Philadelphia Eagles.

One of the longest-tenured Philadelphia Eagles in franchise history has officially called it a career.

Jason Kelce, the former sixth-round pick out of Cincinnati in 2011, officially announced his retirement from the NFL after 13 seasons, all with the Eagles. The move officially comes months after several news organizations reported the long-time starting center told the team his intentions following their 32-9 Wild Card playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 15.

In a public press conference, Kelce announced his decision in front of reporters, teammates, and family, but did not answer any questions following his remarks as he thanked the organization and city that has been his family’s home for 13 years.

“It all felt too perfect when the Eagles selected me in the sixth round,” Kelce said fighting through tears. “13 seasons in Philadelphia and I look back at a career filled with ups and downs. I’d like to thank the four head coaches I played for. I consider myself lucky to play for you.”

Jason Kelce’s Impact on Eagles

Few players have brought the level of professionalism and intensity that Kelce did for his entire career. Once thought of as a solid late-round steal and undersized for the center position, Kelce became the fifth center in league history to be named a first-team All-Pro six times, the last of which coming during the 2023 season.

Kelce became the third Eagle ever to be named a first-team All-Pro six times, joining the likes of Hall of Famers Chuck Bednarik (also a center) and pass-rushing dynamo Reggie White. Kelce was also the 50th player in NFL history to be named to seven Pro Bowls while adding to his All-Pro count.

His 193 games played are second in team history only behind teammate Brandon Graham. Kelce was a key cog in Philadelphia winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history during the 2017-18 season while upsetting the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, 41-33.

Following the Super Bowl, and during the team’s first championship parade in the city, Kelce famously wore a Mummers costume and delivered a powerful speech on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art detailing the team’s journey to become champions and that “hungry dogs run faster.”

“That wasn’t my speech, that was Philadelphia’s,” Kelce cried.

All the success on the field, and Kelce’s fun personality pale compared to what he and his wife have done in the community. He and his wife Kylie have been supporters of the Eagles Autism Foundation and started the (Be)Philly Foundation to “make it easier for all Philadelphians to improve the city and the communities by directly investing in our youth.”

“We’ve had a great run Ky,” Kelce said in his comments toward his wife.”I think it’s no coincidence the best years of my career were with Kylie by my side.”

Kelce, 36, has also seen his podcast New Heights with brother and All-Pro tight end Travis become the top sports podcast globally. They discuss the latest news and life surrounding the two brothers.

KEEP READING: NFL Reporter Teases Eagles Preparing for Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox To Retire in 2024

“Stepping on the field was the most alive and free I’ve ever felt,” Kelce said. “I won’t forget the call I got from Andy Reid on draft day and my father rushing into the room with tears streaming down his face as his son’s dream had just been realized.”

Kelce took most of the time in his statement fighting through tears as he went through some of his favorite memories on the football field including the 2013 Snow Bowl, the introduction to Kelly’s new-look offense the same year, the run to the team’s first Super Bowl, and performing in another Super Bowl five years later against his brother.

“I won’t forget falling short to the Chiefs and the conflicted feeling of immense heartbreak I had selfishly,” Kelce said. “And at the same time the amount of pride, I had in my brother to climb the mountain top again. We have a small family, no cousins, one aunt, and one uncle. It was really my brother and I our whole lives.”

It wasn’t always pretty though for Kelce. Going through the memories of his career, the long-time veteran remembered a time in 2016 when he struggled on the field and was in trade conversations during the offseason.

With his back against the wall, Kelce’s biggest thank you went to current Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.

“No one has been more influential and more meaningful than Stout. I think one of the greatest days a human being can give another is belief…I am lucky. I have been surrounded by people who believe in me,” Kelce recalled. “And in my darkest hours in Philadelphia, Stoutland was the one who believed in me. The following season I enjoyed the finest season in my career. It meant more because of the struggles and work we had been through.”

Kelce will now have time to take care of his three daughters, Wyatt, Elliotte, and Bennett,  but leaves behind a career that will expect to take him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio — a 3.5-hour drive from New Heights, Ohio — where the football journey once began for the All-Pro center.

Even if the center made it clear that his heart will always be in Philadelphia.

“It’s too poetic I found my career being fulfilled in the city of brotherly love. Some people struggle to play in the city. They can’t handle the boo’s, the media, or our fans,” Kelce concluded.”Consider it a great blessing to play in the most passionate sports town in America.”

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