Jason Kelce ‘Abides’: Sings National Anthem, Explains Eagles Return

Jason Kelce

Getty Eagles All-Pro sang the National Anthem at the Sixers-Nuggets game on March 14.

Leave it to Jason Kelce to steal the show. He always does. The All-Pro center sang the National Anthem prior to the Sixers-Nuggets game on Monday night at a packed Wells Fargo Center.

Thousands of excited Philadelphia 76ers fans filed in early and clung to every note. The sold-out basketball stadium was shaking almost as much as Kelce’s knees. Too bad the Sixers couldn’t pull out the win for him. They went on to lose 114-110. 

“I’m nervous, nervous right now,” Kelce said before the performance. “This is … my knees were shaking out there doing the soundcheck, so we’ll see how this goes.”

Kelce’s raspy voice got through the patriotic song in 48 seconds, sometimes bordering more on yelling (see: Eagles’ parade speech) than staccato. All good. The masses were fixated on Kelce’s choice of wardrobe which was a perfect tribute to The Dude’s cardigan sweater from the movie “The Big Lebowski.”

Why was Kelce singing? The 34-year-old was supporting his good friend and former teammate Connor Barwin. He had promised to do it if his Make the World Better Foundation reached $100,000 by the end of 2021. They did.

“It was a motivational tool to accomplish that goal,” Kelce said.

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Kelce Explains Decision to Return to Eagles

Kelce had been holding the entire City of Brotherly Love hostage as he decided whether to return for his 12th NFL season. He had contemplated retirement prior to the start of the 2021 season and those thoughts had started creeping back in. On Monday, he went into greater detail about why he wanted to come back.

“I think you always want to play right after the season’s over, at least I have up until this point,” Kelce told reporters. “You try to just let the emotions of the season calm down and really get a gauge of where you’re at and if you can do it. And the more I kind of stepped back from the game the more it was evident that I wanted to keep playing.”

In the end, Kelce knew he would miss the game too much. And he thinks the Eagles have a chance to do something special in Year 2 of the Nick Sirianni era.

“I’m not done yet, you know, I feel really good about where the team’s at,” Kelce said. “We had a great second half of the season. Obviously, the playoff game wasn’t great, not ideal. But there’s a lot of good things happening in that building and it’s fun to go in there right now, and I wanted to continue to be a part of getting it better.”

Danny Green Returns, Herb Magee Rings the Bell

There was speculation that Doc Rivers might sit James Harden or Joel Embiid against the Nuggets. He has mapped out a plan to keep both players fresh down the stretch. That went out the window with Nikola Jokic in town, though. Embiid wasn’t going to miss a marquee matchup pitting the two MVP front-runners in a head-to-head battle.

Meanwhile, Danny Green was back on the court after missing the previous two contests with a lacerated finger. Charles Bassey and Jaden Springer are serving NBA G League assignments in Delaware. And Ben Simmons’ critic Herb Magee rang the ceremonial bell before the game.

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