In Kansas City, a player on an opposing team rarely earns the love and respect of the Chiefs Kingdom. Despite wearing different NFL colors, you have to be very special, and your love for Kansas City has to be genuine. Tuesday morning we woke up to the news, that Jason Kelce, big brother to Travis Kelce has retired from the NFL.
The Kansas City Chiefs will face the Buffalo Bills Sunday in a divisional showdown. The Philadelphia Eagles ended their season Monday night with a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After the game, Jason Kelce, a future Hall of Fame Center, announced his retirement.
His career spanned 13 seasons, all in an Eagles uniform. He is a Super Bowl Champion (LII); he made seven Pro Bowls and was a First Team All-Pro six times. In October he made his 145th straight start at Center establishing a new record in Philadelphia.
Despite the Eagles, he has worn green every Sunday since 2000, when then-head coach Andy Reid drafted him. Jason and his family are a big part of Chief’s Kingdom. He outwardly supported his brother, Travis, in Kansas City and showed the city that had partially adopted his love and respect.
The ‘New Heights’ Podcast brought us inside the family dynamic that made up Jason and Travis. They’ve made it a family affair with their parents, Ed and Donna Kelce. He even introduced us to his wife, Kiley, and his kids. We rarely get a sneak peek behind NFL players, but Jason broke the mold and let us inside.
Jason Kelce is beloved because he’s a good dude. That’s an old term for someone you could chat with at a bar for hours. The chemistry between him and Travis is endearing and fun to watch, and those who watch them for ninety minutes each week feel like more than Ninety-Two Percenters but part of their family.
What makes Jason so unique is he’s simply a genuine person. He survived 13 NFL seasons when his body told him to quit years ago. He never made a single excuse in a loss and praised his teammates in the wins. He was the first to defend his teammates or his family, and though he had a tough exterior, he had a gentle soul.
We saw a shot of Kelce with tears in his eyes during the game last night. Before the season started, he likely knew this would be the end of the line. He nearly retired a year ago, but after losing to his brother and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII, he didn’t want to go out on that note. So he took his time in the off-season before informing the Eagles he’d like to play another year.
The Eagles started the season 10-1, including a narrow victory at Arrowhead, but down the stretch, they fell apart, losing five of their final six games.
Jason Kelce has a bright future in broadcasting. Undoubtedly, he’ll be on TV this weekend talking about his retirement, his brother Jason (and perhaps his girlfriend, Taylor Swift). Generally, he’ll lighten up the room with his contagious personality.
On behalf of the entire Chiefs Kingdom, I can say thanks for the memories, Jason, and we look forward to the next chapter and seeing you in Kansas City occasionally.