March 4, 2024   3 MIN READ

Hard To Say Goodbye

Tearful Kelce Officially Announces Retirement


On Monday, at the NovaCare Complex – his home away from home for the better part of the last 13 seasons – Jason Kelce made official what had long been expected.

The 36-year-old future Hall of Fame center announced his retirement in a press conference after 13 seasons in the NFL, and a wild journey from 2011 sixth-round pick to one of the greatest centers in the sport’s history.

Jason Kelce

ITB PHOTO: Eagles C Jason Kelce says his final goodbye as the 13-year pro announces his retirement.

Joined by his family and several key members of the Eagles organization, the six-time All Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler fought back tears in an emotional press conference in which no questions were taken – and in which Kelce paused several times to gather himself – while he discussed his football career, from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, to the Eagles, with whom he won a Super Bowl ring.

Kelce offered his perspective on the biggest moments of his career – his first Eagles practices, the shocking death of Andy Reid’s son at training camp in Lehigh, the blizzard game in 2013 and, of course, the Philly Special and Super Bowl win over the Patriots in 2017 that led to Kelce dressing up as a Mummer and delivering the wildest speech in team history after the team’s parade down Broad Street.

He also thanked everyone who impacted his life and football career, saving his most gracious thank-you for Eagles longtime offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.

Kelce’s retirement, which had been an annual offseason discussion since the end of the 2018 season, was first widely reported following the team’s 32-9 Wild Card defeat.

But Kelce waited on his own time to officially announce the decision on his own terms.

Among those in the audience were Kelce’s father, Ed, and mother, Donna, along with his brother, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who will be joining his older brother someday in Canton, Ohio, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Jason Kelce reflected on his parents’ encouragement of his football career and on the day in 2011 when then-Eagles coach Reid called to inform him the Eagles would be picking him 191st overall, in the sixth round.

He also recalled the same outburst of emotion just two years later, when Reid – who had moved onto Kansas City – called his younger brother and informed Travis that the Chiefs would be drafting him 63rd overall, in the third round.

– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for

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