Drew Brees Announces Scholarship Program in Honor of Jason Kelce for 13 Walk-On Athletes

Brees said the scholarships are "a salute to the relentless spirit and the unwavering dedication" of athletes like Kelce

<p>Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Perry Knotts/Getty </p> Drew Brees, Jason Kelce

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Perry Knotts/Getty

Drew Brees, Jason Kelce
  • Drew Brees is giving 13 scholarships to walk-on athletes in honor of Jason Kelce

  • Kelce was a walk-on to the football team at the University of Cincinnati

  • Brees said the scholarships "represent more than just financial aid" and will serve as "a salute to the relentless spirit and unwavering dedication" of athletes such as Kelce

Former quarterback Drew Brees is honoring Jason Kelce's legendary NFL career in the most generous way.

Brees, 45, announced that Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux, a chain restaurant he co-owns, will give scholarships to 13 walk-on athletes in honor of newly-retired Kelce, 36.

The former New Orleans Saints star shared the news in a video announcement, beginning with a "big congratulations" to Kelce on "an extraordinary 13-year NFL career."

Brees said, "From his days as a college walk-on at Cincinnati to becoming one of the most highly-respected names in the NFL, Jason’s journey has been nothing short of incredible."

The retired quarterback said his Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux "loves to celebrate the heart and the hustle of the underdogs,” pointing to co-founder Brandon Landry, who was a walk-on basketball player for the LSU Tigers, and his brother, Reid Brees, a walk-on baseball player for Baylor University — and now Kelce.

Related: Jason Kelce’s Wife Kylie ‘Immensely Proud’ of His NFL Career, Congratulates Him on Retiring

Brees continued, “In honor of Jason Kelce’s retirement and his 13 remarkable seasons, we at Walk-Ons are offering this heartfelt tribute. We are awarding 13 scholarships to college walk-on athletes across the country."

<p>Tim Nwachukwu/Getty</p> Jason Kelce of the Eagles

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty

Jason Kelce of the Eagles

"These scholarships represent more than just financial aid. They’re a salute to the relentless spirit and the unwavering dedication that drives athletes to excel, mirroring the qualities that Jason Kelce showcased throughout his career."

Brees concluded his video announcement by telling Kelce, "Your legacy transcends the gridiron. It’s about the heart, the unyielding perseverance, and the deep belief in one’s potential. With this initiative, your inspirational spirit will continue to guide and motivate future generations. Thank you, and here’s to the spirit of the walk-on.”

Kelce spoke about his experience as a walk-on at the University of Cincinnati during his emotional 40-minute retirement announcement on March 4 in front of friends and family, including his wife Kylie, brother Travis and parents Donna and Ed.

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The former Philadelphia Eagles center said, "From Cleveland Heights I entered the University of Cincinnati as a walk-on. As a linebacker, I had no idea what to expect, but scenes from Rudy would often race in my mind. It became apparent immediately that walk-ons would have to fight harder for their opportunities than the rest of the team."

Kelce continued, "I had no stars, no investment from the team or the coaches. I had to earn everything, and that’s good, because I had no clue what hard work was yet. Knowing that I had to earn my respect everyday made me committed like never before."

"That entire year I consider a blessing," Kelce added, "and I redefined in my mind what working hard actually was," he shared. "It pushed me into areas of fatigue I didn’t know I had, and for that experience, I am forever grateful to all of them."

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