Skip to main content
Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles News

Jason Kelce announces his retirement

Jason Kelce
Jason Kelce

Thirteen seasons, every one of them as a starting center for the Philadelphia Eagles, taking one of the game's most grinding positions and making it, well, into something glamorous in a take-your-shirt-off-and-pound-beers-kind-of way, which was just perfect when you're talking about Jason Kelce.

A sixth-round draft pick in 2011 who not only defied the odds – a study concluded that 1.9 percent of NFL sixth-round draft picks play 80 games in the league – but actually smashed those odds and put together a Pro Football Hall of Fame career, Kelce created a legacy for this organization and fans around the world with what he did on and off the football field. He combined athleticism, intelligence, toughness, coachability, leadership, and every intangible you can think of, really, to leave an indelible mark on the game.

Kelce announced his retirement during an emotional speech on Monday afternoon inside the auditorium of the NovaCare Complex, ending what we all hoped would never end.

Kelce is one of only three centers in NFL history (along with Pro Football Hall of Famers Dermontti Dawson and Mike Webster) to be named an NFL All-Pro player at least five times (Kelce is a 6-time All-Pro). He has been selected as a Pro Bowl player seven times. Kelce started 156 consecutive regular-season games, dating back to the 2014 season, played in 193 career regular-season games, and started each and every one of the team's 12 postseason games.

Not bad for the 191st player taken in the 2011 NFL Draft.

"It has been humbling to be in this position and to have had this opportunity, something I never take for granted," Kelce said during the 2023 season. "Obviously, you cherish every minute of it. I have incredible passion for this game and this organization, the City. It is so special to me."

And he has been so special for us, because for everything Jason Kelce has accomplished on the football field, he has matched it with the way he's treated people and given of himself and made his experience one for everyone to share. Kelce has immersed himself in the community and the role of giving back throughout his career – he was the team's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee in 2021 – and has been involved in numerous charitable endeavors, ranging from his work with the Eagles Autism Foundation to the millions of dollars raised through the two Christmas albums as a member of The Philly Specials.

In short, Kelce has given everything of himself and that's what has made him an all-time great to everyone who has experienced his presence.

"It is difficult to put into words how much Jason Kelce has meant to everyone in this organization, to the City of Philadelphia, and to our fans," said Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie. "He gave everything he had to all of us for 13 years, and he did it in a way that was truly authentic. Jason was an incredible football player; a future Hall of Famer who would have been successful anywhere. But has there ever been a more perfect marriage between a player, a city, and a team?

"His grit and determination, from being a walk-on linebacker at Cincinnati to an undersized sixth-round pick in 2011, are unparalleled. His intelligence and versatility, from starting as a rookie center in a lockout season to thriving under multiple coaches and offensive schemes, set him apart from others at his position. The genuine love and care he showed his coaches, teammates, and staff endeared him to all he worked alongside. The passion and intensity that he poured into everything he did, both on and off the field, made a city fall in love.

"Jason gave of himself for others, played through injuries, and never wavered through all the ups and downs of our seasons and his own personal career. He is a man of many talents – he could chug beers with fans at a tailgate, he could sing in a Christmas album and raise millions for charity, or he could talk X's and O's all day with coaches and teammates. Then after all of that, he could do things out on the football field that no other offensive linemen are capable of doing. If you talk to anyone in the organization about what Jason has meant to them, they would all come up with something different. That is a testament to who he is as a person and how much he cares about connecting with others.

"But even 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. 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 while it is hard to imagine the Eagles taking the field without Jason Kelce in uniform, we are also excited to celebrate his career and support him as his journey continues. Although Jason is retiring from the NFL, I have no doubt that he will continue to be successful in everything he does, and his impact on our organization and this city will reverberate for many years to come.

"On a personal level, it has been a pleasure watching Jason's career and getting to know him and his family. He and Kylie have devoted themselves to so many great causes, and I am especially grateful for the work they have done and continue to do with the Eagles Autism Foundation. We wish all the best for Jason, Kylie, and their three wonderful daughters as they begin the next chapter together."

As the six-time All-Pro selection and Super Bowl Champion steps away from the game, relive some of his Jason Kelce's best moments on and off the field.

How Kelce became a future Pro Football Hall of Fame center is the most illogical part of the incredible story. He entered the NFL as an undersized center, weighing just 280 pounds at the NFL Combine. He wasn't big, he wasn't particularly strong, and he was light. But his measurables when it came to moving – the 40-yard dash, the 20-yard dash, the shuttle, the 3-cone drill – his numbers were off the charts great (he scored a 94 out of 100 in agility). Taken during a work stoppage in 2011, Kelce reported to the Eagles for the first time as Training Camp opened and quickly earned a starting job working with legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd.

"Howard took a chance on me. He wanted me and he looked at my strengths. Everyone was talking about me being 'undersized' but Howard saw my strengths and he played to them," Kelce said. "It was an evolution that started with him and then when Stout (Jeff Stoutland, Eagles offensive line coach since 2013) got here, it just went to a new level over and over.

"If I knew back then what I know now in terms of technique and refining the little things, man ... It's something where you just keep working at your craft and you have people around you who believe in you and if you have the drive to be the best, you love it.

"I've always loved it."

Exposure Jason Kelce 15-min

There will never be another Jason Kelce

The All-Pro's championship legacy goes well beyond what he did on the football field. View our page celebrating all of Kelce's accomplishments.

Along the way, Kelce created a remarkable bond with Eagles fans, epitomizing the "everyman" image that, truly, is Kelce. He is warm and respectful to every person he meets and he appreciates everything the Eagles fans and the community have given to him.

"It's good to know that people think that I've been a good human being and done things the right way, giving back to the community and been a good teammate," Kelce said. "You just try to be the best person you can be and help out where you can and care about other people. I like to think that people think that I care about what they do and who they are and know that if they ever need something, I'm a person they can call and count on to help them out and listen or be there for them in any way I can.

"I don't try to be anything that I'm not and I think fans, especially in Philadelphia, appreciate that. I think it's a very 'real' relationship. I just try to be as much of myself as I can be, not trying to get a big head or anything like that because I certainly don't have one and really just engage with the fans in a real way as much as possible. I think they reciprocate that."

One chapter ends, another begins and that is especially true for Kelce, who has built an enormous national following. He has not yet indicated his next step, but you can be sure it will be one that changes the world, as he has changed ours for 13 seasons of best-in-class football that includes the first Super Bowl title in franchise history and a speech at the Parade of Champions that pushed his legacy into a new stratosphere.

Related Content