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Jason Kelce Breaks Down in Tears While Announcing His Retirement From the Philadelphia Eagles

Jason Kelce is retiring from football after 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles — and had a tear-filled message to fans.

“Not a good start, here we go,” Kelce, 36, joked as he broke down in tears during a press conference on Monday, March 4, before detailing why he decided to play football over every other sport.

“Thirteen years in Philadelphia and I look back at a career full of ups and downs,” Kelce told viewers, before launching into some of his best memories as the Eagles’ Center. The athlete shouted out all his past coaches, considering himself “lucky” to have played for all of them. Kelce also recalled being drafted to the NFL and at one point even referred to his mom, Donna Kelce, as a “representative” for parents who “sacrifice so much for their children.”

Kelce even looked back at the Eagles’ devastating Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2022, offering a lengthy memory about his “bond” with brother Travis Kelce.

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“It’s only too poetic [that] I found my career being fulfilled in the city of brotherly love,” Kelce said. “I knew that relationship all too well.”

Of course, Kelce offered a sweet shoutout to his “beautiful” wife Kylie Kelce, remembering the night they first met after matching on Tinder.

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Jason Kelce. Cooper Neill/Getty Images

“So, this all brings us here to today,” he said. “Where I announce that I am retiring from the NFL after 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.”

“And today I must admit, I am officially overrated,” Kelce continued. “Vastly overrated. It took a lot of hardwork and determination getting here. I have been the underdog my entire career, and I mean this when I say it, I wish I still was. Few things give me such joy as proving someone wrong.”

He concluded with thank you to the city of Philadelphia.

“It has always been a goal of mine to play my whole career in one city. I couldn’t have dreamt a better one and a better fit if I tried,” he said. “I don’t know what’s next, but I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities that await, and I know that I carry with me the lessons for my time here and that forever we shall all share the bond of being Philadelphians.”

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Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Hours before his press conference, Kelce teased his decision via X.

“No Keg videos this year, I have come to a decision and will address it at a press conference this afternoon,” he wrote, referring to Eagles coach Nick Sirianni sending him a keg of beer to convince him not to retire.

Kelce’s decision to hang up his uniform comes months after the Eagles’ devastating playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday, January 15. The center was spotted on the sidelines getting teary-eyed after the Buccaneers destroyed the Eagles’ chance of playing in Super Bowl LVIII.

“That looks like a man filled with emotion,” ESPN announcer and former NFL star Troy Aikman said during the broadcast as the cameras panned to Kelce. “You wonder if that’s it for 36-year-old Jason Kelce.”

That same night, Jason’s wife, Kylie Kelce, was seen in the stands also looking emotional. As she watched Jason on the field, Kylie, 31, was hunched over in her seat and had her hands covering her mouth in disbelief.

The couple’s reactions sparked speculation that the 2023 season might be Jason’s last. Before Jason announced his retirement, multiple outlets reported that the athlete confirmed the news to his teammates in the locker room following the game.

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Jason has played with the Eagles since 2011, the same year that he was drafted by the team. He made history in his first season by becoming the first rookie in Eagles history to start all 16 regular-season games at center. Throughout his 13-year career, he assisted the Eagles in achieving their first Super Bowl win in 2018 after they defeated the New England Patriots. Jason played in his second championship against his little brother, Travis and the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. (The Chiefs ultimately took home the trophy.)

Before making his official announcement, Jason was candid about his retirement plans. In December 2023, the football player admitted he was considering hanging up his jersey following the season.

“If it’s this year, which it very well could be, we want to make sure that we’re ready to go when football is done, and with all of these different opportunities and things, to figure out what it is we want to do with our retirement,” Jason said in an interview with the NFL Report. “And then on top of that, just enjoy the last time you have left with the guys you have.”

Ahead of the 2023 season, Kylie revealed that she and Jason had previously discussed his retirement and what it would mean for their family, which includes their three young daughters: Wyatt, 4, Elliotte, 3 and Bennett, 12 months.

“I don’t think that people realize the beating you’re taking then impacts the way you interact with your family,” Kylie said in the 2023 Prime Video documentary Kelce. “I always tell people, no matter what happens with football, how it ends, I would like him to retire when he is still able to get down on the floor and play with our kids comfortably.”

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