Jason Kelce announces his retirement from the NFL

By | March 4, 2024

Jason Kelce announces his retirement from the NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The day Philadelphia has been dreading has finally arrived.

Jason Kelce, one of the greatest centers in NFL history and one of the greatest Eagles ever, is retiring.

Kelce announced Monday afternoon at a press conference at the NovaCare Complex that his career is over after 13 seasons, 193 games, six 1stteam All-Pros, seven Pro Bowls, seven trips to the playoffs, two Super Bowls and one unforgettable Super Bowl run following the 2017 season.

Next stop Canton.

“From everything I’ve told you about when you know it’s time to retire or not, you just know when you know, and that’s going to be when you don’t want to play football anymore,” Kelce said last year .

“I remember talking to Stout two years ago, and I was like, I don’t know when that time is going to come or how I’m going to know when to stop,” Kelce said. “And he says, ‘You’ll know.’ You won’t want to do it again.’

“And I said, ‘I don’t think that’s ever going to happen,’ and he said, ‘No, it will. Believe me, it will happen. ”

Kelce walks away at the absolute peak of his powers.

He made 1stteam All-Pro in each of his final three seasons, becoming the first NFL player since Dolphins Hall of Fame center Dwight Stephenson from 1985 to 1987 to retire after earning All-Pro honors in each of his last three seasons.

The only other players to do that since 1960 are Oilers tackle Al Jamison from 1960 to 1962 and Jim Brown of the Browns from 1963 to 1965.

He started his career as an obscure 6eround pick out of Cincinnati and finished as one of the most decorated offensive linemen in NFL history.

He is the only player in history to make the All-Pro first team six times in his 30s after never receiving the honor in his 20s.

This past season, he became the Eagles’ oldest All-Pro since 37-year-old center Vic Lindskog in 1951.

Kelce is only the fifth center to ever be named All-Pro six times in the 83-year history of the AP All-Pro team. The others are all Hall of Famers: Jim Otto, Bulldog Turner, Dermonti Dawson and Jim Ringo, who ended his career with the Eagles.

He finished his career by starting a franchise-record 156 consecutive games, a streak that dates back to the 2014 season. Only Brandon Graham – with two more than Kelce – has played more games in an Eagles uniform.

Kelce is one of only seven players to spend at least 13 years with the Eagles. Of the six others, only four spent their entire careers with the Eagles: Vic Sears, Bucko Kilroy, Chuck Bednarik and – so far – Graham.

What really sets Kelce apart from so many other great players is that he was an afterthought when the Eagles drafted him with the 191e choice in 2011. No. 6e-round pick has ever been selected to more All-Pro teams

But the awards, accolades and statistics only scratch the surface when it comes to the impact Kelce has made on the franchise and on the city.

Whether it was his charity work, the legendary Mummer-suited speech at the Art Museum after the Super Bowl parade, his talent for showing up at corner bars and drinking with the regulars, a beer-drinking contest with a radio personality, his shirtless antics during a Chiefs playoff game or his humor and honesty on his wildly popular New Heights podcast with younger brother Travis, Kelce connected with Eagles fans in a way few, if any, Eagles ever have.

What’s next for Kelce?

If that’s what he wants, he clearly has a future in broadcasting. He said the week of the playoff game in Tampa in January that he would like to keep his hand in the game of football somehow.

“I will always want to be involved in the game,” he said. “I think it’s hard to completely part with it, I imagine. There are still many things I want to learn about the game.

“I think there is still a lot to learn. I will need to know many things. I would like to learn route trees and different concepts. This is why this projection is called this way, with this man bending this way. I know a lot about my little football pocket, but I would like to know more about the collective whole. I think this is something I look forward to understanding more in the future.”

Kelce still has a lot to figure out, but so do the Eagles, who now have to replace one of the greatest players in NFL history in the middle of their offensive line. The Eagles’ last opening center, other than Kelce, was Mike McGlynn in 2010.

Cam Jurgens will likely get the first crack at center, with Tyler Steen and Sua Opeta in the mix to replace Jurgens at right guard.

But whatever happens, this is the end of an era. Graham and Fletcher Cox, the other two all-time Eagles going back to the Andy Reid era, also face uncertain futures as free agents.

But replacing Kelce is like replacing Bednarik, Steve Van Buren, Brian Dawkins or Reggie White. It can’t be done.

Kelce may be from Cleveland, but no professional athlete in the city’s history has ever been more Philly.

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