Sports

Jason Kelce announces official retirement after 13-year Eagles career

The future NFL Hall-of-Famer has helped his team to two Super Bowls in the last seven seasons and has garnered international fame in recent years.

Jason Kelce speaks at a press conference.
AP
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Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce is officially retiring after a storied 13-year career as a pro-footballer. 

The six-time All-Pro and future Hall-of-Famer shared the news at a press conference Monday after months of speculation, particularly after reports he told his teammates the decision following their playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January. 

His tearful speech touched on how much he loved the sport, his teammates and his family.

"Stepping on the field was the most alive and free I had ever felt," he said. "There was a visceral feeling with football, unlike any sport. The hairs on my arms would stand up. I could hit somebody, run around like a crazed lunatic and then get told, 'Good job.' I love football."

Fans already seemed to assume this rumor stood true prior to the press conference, with many responding to his post on X earlier Monday with gratitude and congratulations. 

A sixth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Kelce has spent his entire career with the Philadelphia Eagles, helping lead the team to a Super Bowl win in 2018.

The 36-year-old has also been selected to seven NFL Pro Bowls in his 13 seasons, including each of the last five, and was named first-team All-Pro six times — a feat only five other NFL centers have reached, each of whom are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Eagles team captain has been contemplating retirement in the last couple of seasons. The decision was a focal point of the Prime Video documentary "Kelce," which followed the husband and father of three girls through the 2022 season and ended with the "Kelce Bowl." The nickname refers to the 2023 Super Bowl in which the Eagles played the Kansas City Chiefs, where the center's brother, Travis Kelce, plays as tight end. After the nailbiter loss in the big game, the film ended with Kelce's decision to continue playing with the Eagles for at least another year. 

The closely watched 2023 NFL season — which the Chiefs again won — started with a 10-1 record for the Eagles. However, the winning streak later took a turn, ending the season with an 11-6 record after losing five of their last six games. During the final game, after which he was rumored to announce his retirement to his team, an emotional Kelce was seen hugging his coaches and family on the sidelines.

But an end to his playing career doesn't mean an end to Kelce's time in the spotlight. His podcast "New Heights," which he co-hosts with his brother, is often at the top of the charts, and his brother's relationship with Taylor Swift has shot his whole family to further international fame. There are also reports he could begin a career in sports broadcasting. 

Yet if none of that happens, fans are still hopeful they'll at least get to see more hilarious sideline shots of the supportive, occasionally drunken and shirtless, big brother.