Kelce, 36, has openly discussed the possibility of retiring after this season
An emotional Jason Kelce choked back tears on the Philadelphia Eagles sideline Monday night and later rushed to find his family after the team’s playoff loss, in what may have been the final game of his NFL career.
Kelce, 36, looked to have tears in his eyes while standing on the sideline and watching the final play of the Eagles season, which ended with a 32-9 loss in the first round of the playoffs Monday.
It may have also been the final play of Kelce’s decorated 13-year NFL career, according to multiple reports. Kelce, the older brother of Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, has played his entire career with the Eagles since the team drafted him in 2011.
The Eagles center reportedly told teammates after the game that he plans to retire, according to ESPN. The NFL also reported the news Monday morning.
Kelce did not speak with members of the media following the Eagles’ 32-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, telling them: “No guys, not today.”
The network broadcast footage of Kelce hugging his longtime offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland during the game’s final play, before the NFL veteran jogged towards the stands to look for his family.
The NFL shared footage of Kelce embracing his wife Kylie Kelce and giving a handshake to his father Ed Kelce, who were in attendance at the game in Tampa Bay.
The question of whether this would be Kelce’s final season in the NFL has followed the star center all year after he openly — and emotionally — discussed the prospect of stepping away from the game during the offseason. The seven-time Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl champion broke down in tears while discussing football’s impact on his body and his family life during a wrenching scene in his Kelce documentary on Prime Video.
“It’s getting harder and harder to play," Jason said in one poignant scene from the documentary released last September. "There have been little things that are not big things yet but are going to turn into big things the longer I play."
Jason and Kylie, 31, welcomed their third daughter Bennett Llewellyn Kelce shortly after Super Bowl LVII last year, which the Eagles lost.
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In 2012, he tore his MCL and suffered a partial tear to his ACL. In 2018, he played through the season with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and injuries to his foot, elbow and shoulder, according to Crossing Broad's report at the time.
"Every logical thing is telling me I should stop playing football,” Jason says at one point. “I’ve got to tear my body apart.”
Prior to the Eagles’ playoff game this week, Kelce again touched on the possibility he may retire, telling reporters: “Whenever you're older in your career, you never know when that's gonna be.”
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