Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce told his teammates Monday night that he is retiring after 13 seasons in the NFL, ESPN reported Tuesday.
The Eagles lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-9 in an NFC wild-card game on Monday, putting an end to their season. Kelce has not yet made an official public announcement, but multiple sources confirmed to ESPN that he told his teammates the news in the locker room after Monday’s game.
Kelce countered the news on Wednesday, reiterating that he has not made an official announcement and saying he is not sure how next season will look.
“I just don’t think you’re in a position after a game like that to really make that decision,” Kelce said on “New Heights,” his podcast with his younger brother, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. “There’s too much emotion in the moment. There’s too much going down in the moment to really fully grasp that decision.”
“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,” he added.
Kelce has played for the Eagles for 13 years, and played a critical role when the team won their first Super Bowl championship in 2018. Last year, he signed a one-year contract that was set to expire at the end of this season in March 2024.
At the time of signing that contract, Kelce said he was on the fence about retiring, but ultimately decided to play another season.
“I have put much thought into whether it makes sense to play another season,” he posted on X, the former Twitter, last March. “After talking it over with my wife and many other friends and family, I have decided to return for another year. Thank you to all my supporters and detractors for fueling me, I ain’t fucking done yet!”
The 36-year-old declined to speak with reporters in the locker room, following a moment when he appeared emotional on the field, per ESPN.
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni spoke highly of Kelce.
“I love him. Yeah, obviously we’re not there at that position yet, ready to talk about that, but he’s special and I love him,” Sirianni said after the game, according to The Associated Press. “He’s one of the most special guys I’ve been around. He’s always got a place here and always want him to play.”
The NFL’s report of Kelce’s retirement called him “perhaps the NFL’s best center” and “one of the game’s finest characters.”
He was part of Philadelphia’s “core four” stars, enduring some of the worst and best seasons as an Eagles player, according to the AP.
Kelce’s career is marked by seven Pro Bowls and six All-Pro selections. He was also named one of People’s Sexiest Men of the Year in 2023.