Jason Kelce Announces NFL Retirement in Emotional Press Conference

The six-time All-Pro center played his entire 13-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jason Kelce retires as one of the greatest Eagles ever and perhaps the best center in league history.
Jason Kelce retires as one of the greatest Eagles ever and perhaps the best center in league history.

Jason Kelce released a flood of emotions on Monday as the all-pro center, Eagles captain, and Philadelphia icon announced his retirement. The press conference marked the end of a remarkable journey that included six postseason appearances, two Super Bowl trips, and a legacy many believe is worthy of the Hall of Fame.

A sixth-round draft pick out of Cincinnati, Kelce entered the NFL as an underdog, but leaves it anything but.

Kelce referenced his underdog mentality throughout the retirement speech - "I have been the underdog my entire career, and I mean this when I say it, I still wish I was."

Kelce has flirted with retirement for the past several seasons, but his love for football and desire to win another championship for the city of Philadelphia always brought him back.

Stepping on the field was the most alive and free I had ever felt. 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.
Jason Kelce

Kelce retires as arguably the greatest Center in league history. He holds the Eagles' franchise record for consecutive starts (156), made seven Pro Bowl teams, and earned All-Pro honors six times.

Named a Pro Bowl starter and first team All Pro center again this season, Kelce will retire at the top of his game.

What's next for the Eagles?

Kelce could end up being the first of many dominos that fall for the Eagles this offseason. Veteran Fletcher Cox has yet to announce if he will return for his 13th season.

Key free agents include D'Andre Swift, Rashaad Penny, Marcus Mariota, Brandon Graham, Zach Cunningham, and LB Shaq Leonard.

At the center position, the Eagles will likely turn to third-year center out of Nebraska, Cam Jurgens. The team selected him as Kelce's eventual replacement in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

What's next for Jason Kelce?

Given the popularity of 'New Heights', a podcast featuring Jason and brother Travis Kelce, a move into broadcasting seems likely. Top networks have reportedly already reached out to Kelce's team to gauge interest.

Whatever the future holds, we are willing to bet fans have yet to see the last chapter in this underdog story.

Watch Kelce's full 45-minute retirement speech below.

Jason Kelce Career Highlights

  1. Drafted in the Sixth Round: Jason Kelce was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

  2. Lifelong Eagle: Kelce played his entire 13-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles, showcasing loyalty and consistency.

  3. Pro Bowl Mainstay: He was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times, highlighting his status as one of the league's top centers.

  4. First-Team All-Pro Honors: Kelce earned first-team All-Pro honors six times, a testament to his elite performance on the field.

  5. Super Bowl Champion: He was a key member of the Eagles team that won Super Bowl LII in the 2017 season.

  6. Argument for Greatest Center in NFL History: As the only center since the 1970 merger to win a Super Bowl and earn first-team All-Pro honors six times, Kelce certainly has an argument to the title of the NFL's greatest center ever.

  7. Iron Man: Kelce established a franchise record by starting 156 consecutive regular-season games, showcasing his durability and reliability.

  8. Versatile Athlete: Kelce began his college career as a walk-on running back before converting to an offensive lineman, demonstrating his athletic versatility.

  9. Eagles Leader: As one of the team's key leaders, Kelce was instrumental in guiding the Eagles through six postseason appearances and two Super Bowl trips over seven seasons.

  10. Philadelphia Icon: Beyond his on-field achievements, Kelce became a beloved figure in Philadelphia, known for his passion, dedication, and community involvement.

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