Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce isn't ready to say that he's hanging up the cleats.
In the wake of Monday's wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 36-year-old utilized his "New Heights" podcast to address recent media reports about his retirement.
In short, Kelce didn't want to let his feelings cloud such a major decision:
“I didn’t announce what I was doing on purpose, despite, I guess, what’s been leaked to the media,” Jason told his brother and podcast co-host, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. "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.”
He declined to talk with the media after the 32-9 blowout, which marked an unbelievable collapse following the Eagles' 10-1 start. In light of the rumors, Kelce acknowledged his visible emotion at the end of the loss. "People can kind of feel body language and stuff," he said.
Multiple major networks correctly reported that the six-time first-team All-Pro spoke with his teammates. During the address, Kelce attempted to encourage his team in the end of a frustrating season. "I got belief in every single one of you guys. Cherish the moments you have in this league," he said during his locker room speech.
Kelce fought tears as he recalled the emotion in the locker room. Some of his peers offered sympathy regarding the dismal nature of what could have been his final game.
"A lot of guys [said], 'If that is your last game, I feel sorry for you,'" Kelce recalled. "I'm like, 'Don't feel sorry for me, mother f****r. I had a f*****g ..."
Choked up, he looked away from the camera and nodded in silence. The words "great" and "career" could have come next in the interrupted sentence. But if he had put it all together, he would've officially been talking about his decorated run in the past tense.
— New Heights (@newheightshow) January 17, 2024
Kelce has spent his entire 13-year career in Philadelphia. While he’s “not trying to be dramatic and continue to draw this thing out,” he wants to go out on a more intentional note.
“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 and what has led to the career I’ve had," he added. "I don’t think it would be respectful or even accurate to be able to do that right after a game like that."
Kelce's undecided future is paired with a similar uncertainty across the franchise. The Eagles, maybe more than any other team that was booted in the wild-card round, will have a lot to consider during the offseason.