The Philadelphia Eagles star considered retiring after last year's Super Bowl
Jason Kelce is opening up about the possibility of retirement ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff matchup Monday night.
Reporters asked Kelce, 36, over the weekend if he’s given retirement from the NFL more thought as the win-or-you're-out playoffs begin, and the Eagles center didn’t shut down the idea.
“Whenever you're older in your career, you never know when that's gonna be,” Kelce admitted, speaking openly about the potential end of his NFL career in an interview shared by NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Kelce, the older brother of Travis Kelce, has played in the NFL since the Eagles drafted him in 2011. The Eagles center has been selected to the NFL Pro Bowl seven times throughout his career, including this year, and helped lead Philadelphia to its first-ever Super Bowl win in 2018.
Philadelphia (11-6) opens the NFL Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-8) on Monday night in a lose-or-go home matchup.
Kelce — and Travis — were both asked about the possibility of retiring from the NFL this week. Travis, 34, told reporters in Kansas City that he still loves playing football and has “no desire to stop anytime soon.”
But the two New Heights With Jason and Travis Kelce podcasters approached their answers differently, with Jason expressing more consideration to the possibility that retirement from football is around the corner after 13 seasons in the league.
“My dad's told me this from the moment I started playing football: You step off the curb one day and that could be the end of your career,” a pensive Jason told Eagles reporters this weekend. “So you try and approach every game with that mindset. But obviously, the closer and the older you get to that being a realization puts it out in front maybe a little bit more.”
However, Jason said his contemplation about retirement won’t be the “main thing” on his mind when the Eagles visit Tampa Bay for Monday night’s playoff game.
“The main thing is, you know, going out there and battling with each of the guys in this locker room,” he said. “No matter how many more years I play or any of us play, this team right now only has one game left and that's what we're really focused on.”
Jason, a father of three, has been open about his impending retirement throughout the season. After his Eagles team lost to Travis’ Kansas City Chiefs in last year’s Super Bowl, Jason emotionally contemplated stepping away from the game during the offseason.
“It’s getting harder and harder to play," Jason said in one poignant scene from his Prime Video documentary released last September. "There have been little things that are not big things yet but are going to turn into big things the longer I play."
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Throughout the documentary, Jason reflects on the decision to retire and whether it’s best for his health and his family.
"Every logical thing is telling me I should stop playing football,” Jason says at one point. “I’ve got to tear my body apart.”
In 2012, he tore his MCL and suffered a partial tear to his ACL. In 2018, he played through the season with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and injuries to his foot, elbow and shoulder, according to Crossing Broad's report at the time.
Jason and his wife Kylie Kelce welcomed their third daughter Bennett Llewellyn Kelce shortly after Super Bowl LVII.
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