Kelce’s Retirement: Don’t Blame Taylor Swift!

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce told his teammates he is retiring after Monday night’s 32-9 wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kelce was emotional as the clock expired and declined to talk to reporters after the game, saying “No guys, not today.” Philadelphia Inquirer Eagles reporter Jeff McLane reported that Kelce said, “I have not announced my retirement yet,” but McLane also confirmed the report of the retirement announcement to his teammates.

After being drafted by the Eagles in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, Kelce spent his entire 13-year career in Philadelphia. He is one of five centers to make a first-team All-Pro team six times; the first to do it since 1998. The other four – Jim Otto, Bulldog Turner, Dermontti Dawson, and Jim Ringo – were all later inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Kelce became a fixture in Philadelphia over his tenure with the Eagles. He served as captain for six seasons and was one of seven Eagles players remaining from their 2017 Super Bowl run. The 36-year-old lineman arguably retired while still at the top of his game. Kelce played all 17 games this season, leading all offensive linemen who played at least 1,000 snaps with a 1.1% blown block rate.

Kelce was also one-half of the “Tush Push,” the Eagles’ fourth-and-short play that dominated the 2023 season. The center’s contributions helped Philadelphia lead the league with a 73.1% fourth-down conversion rate and led Jalen Hurts to a league-high 11 rushing touchdowns from inside the two-yard-line. As effective as the play was, though, it can take a toll on an aging center. Kelce once called the “Tush Push” “a grueling play” and added that it sacrifices “short-term gain” for “long-term pain.”

Kelce had reportedly mulled retirement for several seasons. His thought process behind his retirement after the 2022 season was captured on the Prime Vidoe docuseries “KELCE,” which followed Jason and his brother Travis on the road to the “Kelce Bowl” Super Bowl LVII in 2023. Jason returned to the Eagles for the 2023 season on a one-year deal, set to become a free agent this March.