Making Sense of Jason Kelce’s Cryptic Retirement Report

Jason Kelce

Getty Jason Kelce has been to three Pro Bowls and qualified for three straight All-Pro teams. He is one of the best centers in the NFL.

Hear that? That’s the collective sigh of hungry dogs barking.

Jason Kelce was the last player to take off his uniform following the Eagles’ disappointing playoff loss to Seattle. He didn’t want to talk to reporters after the game and promised to comment on his future the following day.

But the All-Pro center was absent from the locker room on Monday and rumors of his impending retirement have picked up steam. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, there is a real chance that Kelce hangs up his cleats. He hasn’t officially addressed the issue but where there is smoke there is often fire.

Kelce was selected to his third Pro-Bowl team this season while earning his third consecutive All-Pro selection. Per NBC Sports’ Reuben Frank, Kelce is the 13th center since the Associated Press started the All-Pro team in 1940 to receive All-Pro honors three or more times. Of the 12 others, 11 are in the Hall of Fame.

Kelce Has Considered Retirement Before

Remember, Kelce admitted to almost calling it a career at the end of last season and said he was “year-to-year” moving forward.

Then, Kelce signed a one-year contract extension last March that keeps him in Philadelphia through 2021 and pays him an estimated $11 million in 2020 and $5.5 million in 2021. He also picked up a sweet $500,000 incentive bonus for playing on at least 90-percent of the snaps. He actually played 1,164 total snaps, or 99.9-percent of them.

He’s arguably the best center in football, with the only possible contender to his crown being Oakland’s Rodney Hudson. For Kelce, it isn’t for a lack of passion. He still loves the game. He would walk away to save himself from a debilitating injury or something worse. It’s an issue that has been weighing on him going back to the Super Bowl year.

“At one point, I had a brace on the entire left side of my body, and that starts to bother you a little bit,” Kelce told reporters in April, via PennLive. “So that’s why I think most of the older guys, especially talking to them and gaining their advice, really take time after the season to step back, recover and you get a much more clarity of mind. Talked to my wife, figured out where we’re at and, obviously, like I said, it was very much always still continuing to play. It’s just now there’s more little things that factor in.”

Adding another wrinkle is the fact that Kelce and his wife, Kylie, welcomed their beautiful baby daughter to the world on Oct. 3.

Doug Pederson Praises Kelce’s Leadership & Work Ethic

There is no denying the amount of respect Jason Kelce commands inside the Eagles’ locker room. He is very much the heart and soul of the team, the engine that keeps everything running.

Everyone remembers Kelce’s amazing speech at the Super Bowl parade, but it was another fiery speech that the center delivered prior to the team’s “Monday Night Football” game against the Giants this year that jump-started their playoff push. The Eagles gutted out an overtime win in that one and then reeled off three more victories to win the NFC East. It was vintage Kelce.

The 32-year-old means so much more to the franchise than what he does on the field. His coach knows it and got emotional talking about it.

“Listen, I could spend the whole press conference here and longer really talking about Jason Kelce, what he means personally to me and then what he means to this football team and this organization,” Doug Pederson told reporters on Jan. 3. “He’s one of the guys that just kind of epitomizes what we’re all about; his toughness, his mental and physical toughness.”

“I think about the offseason, he’s one of the first guys back in the building within a few weeks after the season is over back in the weight room. That’s the type of guy he is,” Pederson continued. “He’s a center that — I don’t know if I’ve been around a center that can do the things athletically, number one, and then mentally number two, that Kelce does. It’s pretty impressive.”

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