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Eagles center Jason Kelce intends to retire after 13 NFL seasons, AP sources say

Jan 16, 2024, 6:29 AM

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce walks off the field following an NFL wild-card playoff footb...

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce walks off the field following an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers won 32-9. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce has told teammates he intends to retire after 13 NFL seasons, three people informed of the decision told The Associated Press.

They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday out of respect for Kelce’s decision, which has not yet been made public.

Kelce was in tears throughout the end of Philadelphia’s 32-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC wild-card game on Monday night. The respected team leader declined to talk to the media about his plans after the game. He has wavered in the past about retirement in recent seasons before ultimately deciding to return for one more run at the Super Bowl.

“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,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. “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 36-year-old Kelce was a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft.

Kelce is the older brother of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. The brothers played each other last season in the Super Bowl — won by the Chiefs — and co-host a podcast.

The burly, bushy-haired and bearded Kelce has been a stalwart of the offensive line since he was drafted and as an Iron Man after he missed most of the 2012 season with a partially torn MCL and torn ACL.

He’s a beloved Philly personality and has done it all off the football field, too, such as singing the national anthem at a 76ers game, partying with the Phanatic and pounding a beer to a roaring ovation at a Phillies postseason game.

But the moment that endeared him for life to the Philly faithful came at the Super Bowl parade in 2018 when he dressed as one of Philadelphia’s famed Mummers, and the ultimate underdog delivered a fiery, profane speech that whipped the crowd into a frenzy.

“No one likes us! No one likes us! No one likes us! We don’t care,” Kelce exclaimed. “We’re from Philly! (Expletive) Philly. No one likes us! We don’t care!”

“He’s a legend in the city. Really in the league,” Eagles QB Jalen Hurts said. “I don’t want to do a disservice to him and the things he’s been able to do and overcome. His journey to where he is now didn’t come easy. It’s been a long, long time coming for him, and every year since I’ve been here it’s been, are you going to come back? But he knows how much I love and appreciate him. He knows how much I’ve learned from him. He’ll forever have a special place in my heart.”

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AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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