Jason Kelce officially announces his retirement amid tears

Jason Kelce officially announces his retirement amid tears

Travis Kelce brushed away tears as his brother, Jason Kelce, dramatically announced his retirement from the NFL. Travis, 34, was in the front row on Monday as Jason, 36, made a poignant presentation announcing the end of his NFL career. The Chiefs tight end sat with Jason’s wife, Kylie Kelce, and parents, Donna and Ed Kelce, throughout the emotional speech.


After 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, the beloved Super Bowl winner battled through emotions to deliver his statement, thanking everyone who has supported his football aspirations, especially Travis.

Jason spoke about the relationship with his brother, mentioning their years playing sports together as kids and the joy they both felt when the other was drafted into the NFL. “We have a small family. No cousins, one aunt, one uncle. It was really my brother and I our whole lives,” Jason explained. “We did almost everything together — competed, fought, laughed, cried and learned from each other.”


He recalled “inventing games” with Travis, and said they “imagined” themselves as “star players” in the NFL one day. “We won countless super bowls in our minds before ever leaving the house,” Jason said. Of Travis’s support throughout the years, Jason said, “It made me stronger, tougher, smarter, and taught me the values of cooperation, loyalty, patience, and understanding.”



He continued, with a chuckle: “It took a lot of hard work 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.” The father of three thanked numerous coaches, teammates and “cafeteria workers” along the way — too numerous to name, he said — in addition to his wife, Kylie, mother Donna, father Ed and brother Travis.


In his speech, in which Kelce paused numerous times to hold back tears, the NFL star spoke of the special bond he has with his brother, and said before speaking about their bond: “This is where it’s going to go off the rails.” “We won countless Super Bowls in our minds, before even leaving the house,” Jason said, recalling their days playing football, armed with Capri Sun drinks which Donna packed for them.


Kelce, who posted on X early Monday morning that an announcement was forthcoming, had been mulling whether to retire for more than a year. In his Prime documentary that debuted last year, the toll that the game was taking on his health — and the effect it was having on his young family — was a running theme.


After a “disappointing” end to the Eagles’ season, which came to a close when they lost a wild-card playoff game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 32-9, on Jan. 15, Kelce’s decision was seemingly etched on his face after the game. During the last play, Kelce hugged his long-time offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland. The father of three then gulped back tears as he scanned the stands for his family, who included Kylie and Ed.


Despite claims that Kelce had declared his retirement plans to teammates after the game, the Eagles star subsequently explained that he had not made a choice at the time. “I think when it’s time to officially announce what’s happening in the future, it will be done in a way that will be definitive,” he said on his New Heights podcast two days later. “With respect to individuals who have meant a lot for me and what has led to the career I’ve had.”


Kelce set a long-standing Eagles record for most straight starts earlier this season, but his career — in which he is widely regarded as one of the finest centers in NFL history — has not been without injury. Kelce ruptured his MCL and partially tore his ACL in 2012. In 2018, he played the entire season with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and ailments to his foot, elbow, and shoulder.


Following the Eagles’ unsuccessful Super Bowl bid against his brother and the Kansas City Chiefs last season, he lamented in Kelce documentary, “Every logical thing is telling me I should stop playing football. I’ve got to tear my body apart.”


“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, 3, and Bennett, 12 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.”


Now, Jason Kelce stands squarely at the center of a new chapter.

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