Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce is not retiring.
Kelce took to Instagram earlier today to announce that he has restructured his contract with the team and isn’t going anywhere. He is excited for what’s ahead going into the 2021 NFL season.
Retirement rumors have been a big topic of discussion concerning Kelce over the last few years. At the end of each season, fans never knew whether he was staying or leaving, and in all fairness, Kelce himself didn’t know either, stating he was playing on a year-to-year basis.
In February 2021, Kelce appeared on former teammate Chris Long’s Green Light podcast. He was asked a series of questions, one being “what are you currently worried about?”. Kelce’s answer was “retirement.”
Kelce didn’t expand on his answer, nor did Long pry any further. Long instead stated, “You should retire at some point. It’s amazing when you get here. It’s awesome.”
After the abysmal season, the Philadelphia Eagles had in 2020, many figured Kelce wouldn’t want to put his body through a rebuild. The now 33-year-old doesn’t necessarily fit the team’s plan to create a youthful squad, but Kelce isn’t hanging up his cleats just yet.
HERE TO STAY FOR THE 2021 SEASON
Recently, fellow offensive lineman Lane Johnson discussed Kelce’s role in 2021.
Johnson stated, “I think he’s considering [retirement], but Kelce loves football. He loves being around the guys. Being around him this much, I know what he likes, and he doesn’t like. I think he’s contemplating it, but if I had to say so, I think he comes back for another year. Not to put any pressure on him — I’d like him back for another year.”
And no pressure was needed. Kelce, who openly expresses he hates social media, actually took to Instagram today to announce his plans.
He stated, “Man, the first week of March 2021 is one for the record books!!!! Got to welcome baby #2 Elliotte Ray Kelce into the world, got my first dose of the Moderna Vaccine at the wonderful Puentes de Salud medical clinic, and restructured my contract to ensure I will continue to be the Center for the Philadelphia Eagles. 2021 already off to a better start!!” He ended the announcement by stating, “#GoEagles couldn’t be more excited!!”
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Philadelphia Eagles will now reportedly pay Kelce $9 million, fully guaranteed with the potential to make $12 million. Although the contract consists of multiple years, it will function as a one-year deal to offer the Eagles salary cap relief.
Per the Philadelphia Eagles website, Kelce went on to add, “I’ve always said I’m playing until I’m not, and I still have a very strong desire to play the game of football. I still want to do it. I still want to be around the guys. I want to be around the building, around the coaches. I still enjoy that aspect of it, and I’m not ready to stop doing it yet. I’m excited with a lot of energy going around right now, and also, I didn’t want to end my career on a season like we had last year. It wouldn’t feel right”.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
If Kelce knows one thing, it’s that there’s a lot going on right now. He will join the 2021 season under new head coach Nick Sirianni, as well as his new coaching staff. Kelce will also line up in front of a new quarterback, who is still to be determined.
Kelce has been with Philadelphia since the start of his NFL career in 2011. The four-time Pro Bowler started every game of the 2020 season despite a franchise record of 14 different starting combinations. He now totals 105 consecutive regular-season starts.
He will not only bring a consistently strong force to the offensive line but leadership and passion for both the game and the City of Philadelphia. The Eagles are lucky to have him for another year.