On Monday, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce officially announced his retirement from the NFL after 13 seasons. The announcement came in an emotional press conference that saw Kelce give extra thanks to his team and training staff, his wife Kylie, and his brother Travis Kelce. With seven Pro Bowl selections, six All-Pro teams and a key piece in winning Super Bowl LII, he is all but guaranteed a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Stepping on the field was the most alive and free I had ever felt. There was a visceral feeling with football, unlike any sport. The hairs on my arms would stand up. I could hit somebody, run around like a crazed lunatic and then get told, ‘Good job.’ I love football,” Kelce said in his press conference. “It has always been a goal of mine to play my whole career in one city. I couldn’t have dreamt a better one if I tried.”

As his career comes to an end, Kelce finishes as the fifth center in NFL history with at least six All-Pro selections. He is also the only center since the 1970 merger that has won a Super Bowl and nominated to the All-Pro six times, despite being a sixth-round pick in the 2011 Draft.

Shortly after his start in Philadelphia, Kelce was thrown into a starting position, one that he held for the remainder of his career. Though dealing with multiple injuries throughout his time leading the team’s offensive line, Kelce set a franchise record of 156 straight regular season starts.

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“Jason gave of himself for others, played through injuries, and never wavered through all the ups and downs of our seasons and his own personal career,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “He is a man of many talents – he could chug beers with fans at a tailgate, he could sing in a Christmas album and raise millions for charity, or he could talk X’s and O’s all day with coaches and teammates. Then after all that, he could do things out on the football field that no other offensive linemen are capable of doing.”

Though one of the best players in his position in recent years, perhaps one of Kelce’s most memorable moments came off the field. During the Eagles’ Super Bowl Parade in 2018, Kelce, dressed in the city’s famous Mummers outfit, gave a fierce speech celebrating the win. Though already a key piece of the team, Kelce’s outgoing personality and dedication to the fanbase are what cemented him as a legend in Philadelphia.

“I won’t forget the parade and what it meant to the city of Philadelphia,” Kelce said Monday. “The joy in our community and the closure it gave so many. The stories from fans that had been waiting generations for that moment fulfilled that triumph to another level…. That wasn’t my speech. It was Philadelphia’s.”

As his playing career comes to an end, it is still safe to say that Kelce will still be around football and the media world. His podcast with his brother, New Heights, continues to soar in popularity and the duo will most likely continue releasing episodes even with Kelce retired. Rumors have also circulated about him potentially joining one of the NFL broadcasting crews, but no deal has yet been made. Regardless of his future, Kelce will leave the game as one of the most accomplished offensive linemen in history, and will forever be a hero in Philadelphia.

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