Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce stopped short Wednesday of confirming he was going to retire from the NFL after 13 seasons and a Super Bowl title with the team.
He addressed rumors of his retirement talk on the “New Heights” podcast. Multiple reports indicated Tuesday that he told his teammates he was going to hang up the cleats following their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC wild-card playoffs.
“I didn’t announce what I was doing on purpose, despite, I guess, what’s been leaked to the media,” Kelce said in the latest episode. “I just don’t think you’re in a position after a game like that to really make that decision. I just don’t. There’s too much emotion in the moment. There’s too much going down in the moment to really fully grasp that decision.
“I’m not trying to be dramatic and continue to draw this thing out. I’m really not. It’s just something I think, when it’s time to officially announce what’s happening in the future, it’ll be done in a way that’s definitive and pays respect to a lot of people and individuals that have meant a lot to me, what has led to the career I’ve had. I don’t think that it would be respectful or even accurate to be able to do that right after a game like that.”
Kelce added he hoped his teammates and colleagues “cherish the moments you have in this league.”
The star center was visibly emotional as the game came to an end on Monday night. Philadelphia lost to Tampa Bay 32-9 after appearing to be readying another run to the Super Bowl.
Should Monday be his final game in the NFL, Kelce will retire as a six-time First-Team All-Pro member and a seven-time Pro Bowler. He was on the 2017 Super Bowl team that saw the Eagles upset the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots for the franchise’s first championship.
Kelce’s status within the city was raised when he gave a speech dressed as a Mummer during the Super Bowl parade.
The former Cincinnati standout is likely on his way to a Hall of Fame selection.
The Eagles chose Kelce in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. He started his career when Andy Reid was the head coach, played through the Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson eras, and appears to be finishing under Nick Sirianni.