National Football League
Jason Kelce says he’s staying retired despite Eagles's free agency moves
National Football League

Jason Kelce says he’s staying retired despite Eagles's free agency moves

Published Mar. 13, 2024 10:46 p.m. ET

Kicking off free agency with a bang, the Philadelphia Eagles signed Saquon Barkley to a three-year deal on Monday. The move sent shock waves across the NFL world, as the two-time Pro Bowl selection is set to go from the New York Giants straight to the helm of its division rival.

Barkley's decision to leave New York after five seasons produced a heated remark from former New York running back, Tiki Barber. Philly, on the other hand, seemed to embrace him immediately.

Lifetime Eagle Jason Kelce, who just announced his retirement from the NFL last week, even made note of how much he would have loved to play with this new team.

[Related: Eagles star Jason Kelce announces retirement]


In the latest podcast episode of "New Heights," the eight-time All-Pro center addressed the rumors that he could potentially return to the game and play alongside Barkley.

"Social media has been non-stop saying ‘Jason are you sure you want to retire?’ And I'm like ‘Yeah, I’m pretty positive, even though a little bit upset [about] how we waited 'til I retired to make a move like this."

Kelce's brother, Travis, who is a nine-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs and co-host of the podcast, drew attention to the level of talent Philadelphia is already working with. "Every starter on that Philly offense is a pro-bowler," Kelce said while mentioning A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert specifically.

Meanwhile, the team also adds into that mix a two-time Pro Bowler in Barkley, who has racked up three seasons of at least 1,000 rushing yards. Last season he ran for 962 yards and six touchdowns on 3.9 yards per carry across 14 games before he was briefly sidelined by an early-season ankle injury. The running back also logged 280 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns.

RB Saquon Barkley inks three-year, $37.75M deal with the Eagles | The Herd

"I could not be more bullish…This is what I'm regretting," said Jason Kelce. "I knew when I retired I was going to miss just an outstanding season for the Philadelphia Eagles. And it sucks, it really does. I want to be a part of it so bad. But, it doesn't suck in the way that I still get to be like ‘Hey I’m a Philadelphian and I get to watch it and get to celebrate it just like everybody else,' and I'm excited for that."

While Kelce would have loved to continue his franchise record for consecutive regular season starts and play another season or two, the six-time First Team All-Pro knew it was time for him to hang it up. In his press conference last week, he explained his reasoning behind retiring after 13 seasons in the league, "The physical portion is at a point that it's not a desire to continue to do. The reality was, it was more firm than it's ever been this year that I just don't think physically, I can compete at the level I want to anymore, and really compete the way I want to."

While he might not be on the field with the team and Barkley this season, he was very outspoken about how supportive he would be of their upcoming season, especially after a disappointing end to last year which saw losses in five of their final six games, including an early first-round exit in the playoffs.

"I just really think there's going to be one hell of a bounce back from the Philadelphia Eagles next year," said Kelce following his retirement announcement. "It really pains me — I'll be a part of it in some way, I'm still going to go down to the facilities and help out in any way that I can."


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