Before the Eagles’ NFC wild card matchup against the Buccaneers, team captain Jason Kelce didn’t shut the door on the idea that this playoff run could be his last.
After Tampa Bay routed Philadelphia to hand the Eagles an early postseason exit, Kelce may have to face that decision sooner than he would have liked.
On the heels of a Super Bowl appearance last season, Philadelphia got out to a red-hot 10-1 start in 2023, looking like a contender once again. The wheels fell off quickly, though, losing five of its last six games to surrender the NFC East title and travel for a road game in the first round of the playoffs.
The Eagles couldn’t leave their end-of-season woes behind them as Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers came away with a commanding 32-9 victory in Tampa Bay.
Kelce noticeably took his time as he left the field, looking on with tears in his eyes as if he was soaking up his final moments on an NFL gridiron.
Will Kelce retire after 13 successful seasons in the NFL? The Sporting News has you covered with the latest updates below.
Will Jason Kelce retire from the NFL?
As the final seconds ticked off the clock in the Buccaneers’ win over the Eagles, the cameras caught Kelce tearing up on the sideline, hugging some of his coaches and teammates.
Jason 💚 pic.twitter.com/3tLvyM9XH1
— NFL (@NFL) January 16, 2024
He was still emotional after he found his family in the stands after the game, trying to hold back tears as he went through the tunnel.
Jason Kelce looks like he’s still fighting back tears 😢 pic.twitter.com/rNIHtGHtYB
— Skinny Batman Szn (@FaroreMatt) January 16, 2024
Ahead of the Eagles’ short-lived 2023 playoff run, Kelce did not shut down the notion that this could be it.
“Whenever you’re older in your career, you never know [retirement] is gonna be,” he told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Friday. “I try to remind guys, and my dad has told me this from the moment I started playing football, ‘You step off the curb one day and that could be the end of your career.’
“So you try and approach every game with that mindset. But obviously, the closer and the older you get to that being a realization puts it out in front maybe a little bit more.”
MORE: Is Travis Kelce going to retire after the 2024 NFL playoffs?
Kelce, 36, has spent all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Eagles. He has been a mainstay for a Philadelphia offensive line that has constantly been among the best in the league during his tenure, appearing in 193 of 211 regular season games.
Undeniably one of the best centers in football, Kelce has been named First Team All-Pro six times to go with seven Pro Bowl honors and a Super Bowl title in 2018.
If this is it for No. 62, what an incredible career it has been.