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Jason Kelce Tells Teammates He’s Retiring from NFL After 13 Seasons with Philadelphia Eagles: Reports

The Super Bowl winner is known as "perhaps the NFL's best center" according to the league itself

<p>Perry Knotts via AP</p> Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62) stands on the sideline during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers won 32-9.

Jason Kelce is reportedly stepping away from playing football.

The NFL and ESPN both cited sources who say the Philadelphia Eagles center, 36, played his final game on Monday night.

Sources told ESPN that Kelce announced to his teammates in the locker room after they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 32-9, in a wildcard playoff game that he intends to retire.

While Kelce declined interviews with media in the locker room — “No guys, not today,” he said — Eagles head coach Nick Sirriani didn’t shy away from talking about his affection for the player, who spent all 13 seasons of his career in Philadelphia.

"I love him," Nick Sirianni said, per ESPN. "He's special and I love him. He's one of the most special guys I've been around. He's always got a place here.”

As he stood on the sidelines during Monday night’s game, Kelce was visibly emotional as he watched the Eagles for the last time as a member of the team.

Related: Jason Kelce Considers Retirement in New Documentary: 'It's Getting Harder and Harder to Stay Healthy'

<p>AP Photo/Peter Joneleit</p> Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62) walks to the team bench for the second half during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024 in Tampa, Fla.

AP Photo/Peter Joneleit

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62) walks to the team bench for the second half during an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024 in Tampa, Fla.

Called “perhaps the NFL’s best center" by the league itself, Kelce had a remarkable 13-year career with achievements including the Eagles' 2017 Super Bowl win, five All-Pro appearances and seven Pro Bowl appearances.

He most recently made a Super Bowl appearance in 2023, as the Eagles squared up against the Kansas City Chiefs and Kelce made history as he played against his brother, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts told reporters after Monday’s game that Kelce is “a legend in the city — really in the league," and will “forever have a special place in my heart,” ESPN reported.

"I don't want to do a disservice to him and the things he's been able to do and overcome. His journey to where he is now didn't come easy. It's been a long, long time coming for him, and every year since I've been here it's been, 'Are you going to come back?' ” Hurts said.

Fellow offensive lineman Lane Johnson reiterated a similar notion to reporters. "I love him. He's one of the best to ever play the game," the right tackle said, per the outlet. "The things he can do on the football field athletically — I don't think we'll see another one like him for a long time."

Related: Travis Kelce Talks Possibility of Retiring from the NFL, Says He Has 'No Desire to Stop Anytime Soon'

Over the course of Kelce’s impressive 13 years in the league — which began with a sixth round pick by Andy Reid in 2013 — he’s suffered several serious injuries, too. In 2012, he tore his MCL and suffered a partial tear to his ACL. In 2018, he played through the season with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and injuries to his foot, elbow and shoulder, according to Crossing Broad's report at the time.

In his Amazon Prime documentary, Kelce, filmed during the 2022 season, he admitted, "Every logical thing is telling me I should stop playing football. I’ve got to tear my body apart.”

<p>Cooper Neill/Getty</p> Jason Kelce #62 of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks with Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs after Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chiefs defeated the Eagles 38-35.

Cooper Neill/Getty

Jason Kelce #62 of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks with Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs after Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chiefs defeated the Eagles 38-35.

The film documented his deliberation over whether or not to play this season following the Eagles Super Bowl run last year. “It’s getting harder and harder to play," he said at one point. "There have been little things that are not big things yet but are going to turn into big things the longer I play."

He was also candid about his concerns as a father to three young daughters — Wyatt, 4, Elliotte, 2, and Bennett, 11 months.

“I am fearful about what the impacts of playing football are going to mean long-term,” he shared in an emotional scene with retired Eagles player Connor Barwin, “I have two girls and ... some people end up getting CTE and some guys live long, healthy lives. I have no idea what’s gonna happen.”

<p>Kylie Kelce/Instagram</p> Jason Kelce and family at training camp

Kylie Kelce/Instagram

Jason Kelce and family at training camp

His wife, Kylie Kelce, said in the documentary that he’s been telling her he’ll retire “for years” and opened up about her perspective on the decision.

"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," Kylie said.

He ultimately decided to return for at least another year, and signed a one-year contract. He announced the news in March 2023, weeks after the disappointing Super Bowl loss.

"I have put much thought into whether it makes sense to play another season," he wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter). "After talking it over with my wife and many other friends and family, I have decided to return for another year."

"Thank you to all my supporters and detractors for fueling me, I ain't f—king done yet!" he added.

Related: Travis Kelce's Jordans and Jason Kelce's Birkenstocks Reflect Their 'Complete Opposite' Personalities (EXCLUSIVE)

Ahead of Monday’s game, Kelce was asked by reporters whether he’d given retirement more thought and he didn’t shut down the idea.

“Whenever you're older in your career, you never know when that's gonna be,” he admitted, speaking openly about the potential end of his NFL career in an interview shared by NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“My dad's told me this from the moment I started playing football: You step off the curb one day and that could be the end of your career,” he said. “So you try and approach every game with that mindset. But obviously, the closer and the older you get to that being a realization puts it out in front maybe a little bit more.”

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Kelce affirmed that his contemplation about retirement wouldn’t be the “main thing” on his mind during the playoff game, though.

“The main thing is, you know, going out there and battling with each of the guys in this locker room,” he continued. “No matter how many more years I play or any of us play, this team right now only has one game left and that's what we're really focused on.”

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