Jason Kelce is still weighing his options. After a report surfaced on Tuesday that the celebrated 36-year-old Philadelphia Eagles center — a Super Bowl champion, six-time All Pro honoree, and future Hall of Famer — plans to retire from the NFL, Jason himself is speaking out on Wednesday’s episode of his New Heights podcast.
“I don’t know what next year’s gonna look like,” Jason tells his brother, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, with whom he co-hosts the show. “I didn’t announce what I was doing on purpose, despite I guess what’s been leaked to the media.”
On Monday, his team’s playoff run came to an end in the wild card round against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During the game, Jason was seen becoming visibly emotional and fighting back tears. According to a report from ESPN, Jason informed his teammates of his decision to retire in the postgame locker room on Monday.
“People can kind of feel body language and stuff,” Jason admits on New Heights, explaining that he was holding back on making a firm decision about his career until the Eagles exit interviews for the season are conducted this week.
“I just don’t think you’re in a position after a game like that to really make that decision. I just don’t,” he shares. “There’s too much emotion in the moment, there’s too much going down in the moment to really fully grasp that decision. I’m not trying to be dramatic and continue to draw this thing out. I’m really not. It’s just something that I think, when it’s time to officially announce what’s happening in the future, it’ll be done in a way that’s definitive and pays respect to a lot of people and individuals that have meant a lot to me and what has led to the career I’ve had. And, you know, I don’t think that it would be respectful or even accurate to be able to do that right after a game like that.”
Jason admits he felt “frustrated” by the way his team’s 2023-2024 season fell apart in the end and that he did offer remarks to his teammates after their final game.
“I did address the team and pretty much said the same thing that I just said to you,” he says. “Which is just, ‘I believe in every single one of you guys. Cherish the moments you have in this league.'”
He continues, “A lot of guys [said], ‘If that is your last game, I feel sorry for you.’ I’m like, ‘Don’t feel sorry for me, mother f**ker. I had a f**king…”
The athlete trails off and becomes emotional, pausing for some deep breaths while choking back tears. Offering his support, Travis also emotionally says, “Hell yeah, brother,” while Jason collects himself.
“Either way, I just truly appreciated everybody in that room,” he says. “I think there was a lot of emotion in that room, for sure. So, I don’t know what the future holds for anybody in that building right now. We’re about to get into I guess what happens down the stretch.”
Jason has served as a starter with the Eagles since his first professional season in 2011, after he was drafted by the team in the sixth round. Today, he is widely regarded as one of the best NFL centers of all time.
Fans will have the opportunity to see Jason on the field again next month, as he was selected for his seventh outing for the Pro Bowl skills competition. Travis, 34, has also been selected for the prestigious contest, marking his ninth consecutive time competing. The Pro Bowl Games are set for Feb. 1 to Feb. 4 in Orlando, Florida, airing on ESPN and ABC.
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