Eagles' Jason Kelce retiring after 13 seasons (2024)

Philadelphia Eagles star center Jason Kelce is retiring from the NFL after 13 seasons, according to multiple reports. Kelce reportedly informed his teammates of his decision in the locker room following Monday’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The images of Kelce’s final moments with the Eagles were melancholy. ESPN’s cameras caught him emotionally absorbing the gravity of his career ending as the final minutes expired in the franchise’s 32-9 loss to the Buccaneers. Few athletes ever finish their careers with championships, although there were times early on during the 2023 season when it appeared Kelce and these Eagles might make yet another run at the Super Bowl.


Kelce walked off the field alone, turned the tunnel’s corner and was immediately met by general manager Howie Roseman outside the visitor’s locker room. The two shook hands and hugged. Kelce dressed at his locker, faced the group of waiting reporters and politely shook his head.

“No, guys,” Kelce said. “Not today. Sorry.”

GO DEEPEREagles in disbelief as a once-promising season comes to a close: 'It's simply not our turn'

There may be no other active NFL player who so closely identifies with the city in which he plays. Kelce is so fittingly Philadelphia. A sixth-round selection in 2011, he was an underdog in a city that defines itself by them. By retiring after a season in which the 36-year-old secured his sixth All-Pro selection, Kelce leaves the sport quite literally at the top of his game.

There will almost certainly be a day soon when Kelce will share the thinking behind his decision, although he’s discussed it in general terms both privately and publicly over the past year. Kelce told reporters last week that the thought he’d possibly be playing his last game first entered his mind three seasons ago.

His health and quality of life were also a major topic in the Amazon Prime documentary “Kelce,” which followed the center throughout the 2022 season. He now can devote more time to his wife, Kylie, and their three daughters.

Kelce’s football legacy makes him an instant legend in both NFL and Philadelphia sports lore. It would not be surprising to see the Eagles retiring Kelce’s No. 62 jersey and his on-field accolades — which include helping win the franchise’s only Super Bowl in 2018 — likely make him a candidate to be a first-ballot entry in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Kelce is just the fifth center in league history to be named an All-Pro at least six times. The four others — Dermotti Dawson, Jim Otto, Jim Ringo and Bulldog Turner — are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Eagles players have already begun reflecting on how Kelce influenced their careers. A red-eyed left tackle Jordan Mailata sat at his locker Monday night and spoke of how Kelce taught him to be a leader.

GO DEEPERJason Kelce 'leads the orchestra': 12 years of stories on the Eagles' offensive line

Kelce’s personality and commitment to Philadelphia was unmatched in the locker room. He iconically gave a speech at the team’s Super Bowl LII parade in a decorative suit that locals wear on New Year’s Day in the Mummers Parade. He spearheaded the recordings of two Christmas albums with other members of the Eagles offensive line. He often wore the T-shirt of a local Philly bakery while lounging in the locker room after practice.


But it’s Kelce’s football influence that is most indelible. Beyond being the fulcrum of the offense’s confounding “Brotherly Shove,” Kelce was one of the team’s best players, if not its best, in 2023.

Roseman must now organize the offensive line without him. The Eagles began their presumable succession plan by drafting Cam Jurgens in the second round of the 2022 draft. Jurgens was a rotational player as a rookie, and while starting in 11 games at right guard this year, Jurgens also took six snaps at center.

“He’s a true leader to the final whistle,” Mailata said of Kelce. “He’s real positive. Trying to get the guy’s spirits going. Get us going. He’s a true leader till the final whistle. That’s why I love him. Guy taught me how to lead. And, yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough out there. Really was.”

Required reading

  • Eagles in disbelief as a once-promising season comes to a close: ‘It’s simply not our turn’
  • Behind the scenes of NFL’s ‘broadcast boot camp’ with Jason Kelce: ‘He’s ready to go’
  • The Kelce brothers and the ‘Heights’ of podcast popularity
  • Jason Kelce ‘leads the orchestra’: 12 years of stories on the Eagles’ offensive line
  • Hungry dog: How Jason Kelce channelled his anger and earned his respect

(Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck / USA Today)

Get all-access to exclusive stories.

Subscribe to The Athletic for in-depth coverage of your favorite players, teams, leagues and clubs. Try a week on us.

Eagles' Jason Kelce retiring after 13 seasons (3)Eagles' Jason Kelce retiring after 13 seasons (4)

Brooks Kubena is a Staff Writer for The Athletic covering the Eagles. Brooks has covered the NFL since 2021, most recently as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle covering the Texans, and he previously reported on LSU football for The Advocate | Times-Picayune from 2018-2020. Brooks, a graduate of the University of Texas, has received APSE National Top 10 honors eight times for his reporting, which includes his beat writing coverage during the 2022 season. Follow Brooks on Twitter @BKubena

Eagles' Jason Kelce retiring after 13 seasons (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 6033

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.