Eagles centre Kelce brings curtain down after 13 seasons

Philadelphia Eagles centre Kelce clinched a Super Bowl in February 2018

By Web Desk
March 05, 2024
Philadelphia Eagles centre Kelce held an emotional press conference. - Reuters

Jason Kelce brought the curtain down on Monday after a 13-year National Football League career during which he made a name for himself as one of the top players at his position.

Philadelphia Eagles centre Kelce, the older brother of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, clinched a Super Bowl in February 2018, earned seven Pro Bowl selections and was named a first-team All Pro on six occasions.

"I have been the underdog my entire career and — I mean this when I say it — I wish I still was. Few things gave me more joy than proving someone wrong," an emotional Kelce, 36, said during his retirement news conference in which Travis was among those in attendance.

"My mother used to tell people and still says to this day, 'If you want Jason to do something, all you have to do is tell him he can't,' and that was true in more ways than I care to admit. I relish doubters; they fuel the fire within."

Kelce, roped in by Philadelphia in the sixth and penultimate round of the 2011 NFL Draft, owns the Eagles franchise records for consecutive starts (156) and most regular season games played by an offensive lineman (193).

During his career, Kelce was a fan favourite despite playing at a position that does not typically produce fan favourites.

In the Super Bowl championship parade after the Eagles' shocking win against the New England Patriots, Kelce gave an impassioned speech about his team's underdog story which was loved by the crowd.

"For the millions of fans who never had the privilege of meeting Jason, he had such a deep understanding and genuine appreciation for what was important to them," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement.

"Nothing exemplified that better than his Super Bowl parade speech that brought to the surface the emotions that so many of us had been holding inside for years.

"Today is a bittersweet day, because it is hard to imagine the Eagles taking the field without Jason Kelce in uniform."