The story of Jason Kelce is a remarkable one. His tenure in Philadelphia has been nothing short of legendary and he’s all but destined for a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame. But as has gotten closer to the end of his career, the idea of retirement has slowly started to become a real possibility. What will Kelce do after retirement, and whether or not that involves the Eagles, is anyone’s guess…or is it?
Is Jason Kelce going to retire?
2023 did always feel like this would be the final rodeo for Jason Kelce, who has enjoyed a stellar 13-year career in the City Brotherly Love. With a Super Bowl ring, six All-Pro mentions and 7 Pro Bowls to his name, Kelce has become a staple of Philadelphia on and off the field. But, all good things must come to an end, and the Eagles have been preparing for his heartbreaking retirement for a while.
Should Kelce retire, his spot will likely be filled by Cam Jurgens next season, the man hand-picked by Jason himself to catch the baton and keep running. With Tyler Steen a potential pivot if needed, the Eagles have plenty of optionality at center, with players who have been waiting patiently in the wings and learning from one of the best of all time, soaking in every last drop of knowledge.
It’s that last note that gets the cogs turning. The truth is, Jason Kelce doesn’t need football now. He has a beautiful young family, a media career strapped to a rocket ship should he wish to pursue it, and a very successful podcast. However, it’s not always that simple, and sometimes it’s just an itch that will never go away.
What next for Jason Kelce?
In a recent piece by Olivia Reiner, Jason Kelce told the Philadelphia Inquirer the following:
“…But I do know, I still want to be involved in the organization and still want to be a part of it, regardless of what the decision is. Because I don’t want to ever feel like I’m on the outside looking in on these achievements and these accolades and these opportunities that largely represent entire cities and fan bases and organizations. It’s too good a feeling to pass up.”
Well, that certainly changes things…
Jason Kelce has been very vocal about his situation for the past few years. Speaking on the New Heights podcast, he explained:
“If I’m being honest my body is starting to fall apart. This is my 12th year, I couldn’t even do training camp this year. I got surgery at the beginning of it.”
The next Jeff Stoutland?
So if Kelce’s body is beginning to wear down and he doesn’t want to put himself through another grueling year of physicality, yet remain within the organization, there is one role he would be perfect for…
As and assistant offensive line coach to Jeff Stoutland, Kelce would be able to carry his passion and leadership qualities into the coaching aspect of football. It feels like the perfect move. He’s already such a strong mentoring presence in the locker room and a player of his caliber will be able to help coach and teach the intricacies of the game in ways very few can.
The Eagles have had one of the best offensive lines in football for well over a decade. It’s an area that has been focused on relentlessly by the front office, and has been coached up brilliantly by Jeff Stoutland, who is coincidentally regarded as one of the best positional coaches in the entire league.
If coaching was something that Jason Kelce declared interest in, it would absolutely behoove the team to bring him in immediately. Not only is Kelce a brilliant addition to the locker room and a voice for the younger players, but the Eagles also have a coach on their hands who embodies everything it means to be from Philadelphia and can coach players in a way that prepares them for the bumps and bruises that come with being a Bird.
The cherry on the cake would be that the Eagles could also develop Jason Kelce as a coach so that if Jeff Stoutland ever wanted to hang up his boots, they have a replacement there too to carry on his legacy and proven way of doing things. Stout has been with the Eagles since 2013 and is 61 years old now. There is every chance that in 5-6 years time, he decides to call it a day…and should that day ever come, the idea of having someone as highly-regarded as Jason Kelce waiting to pick up is simply a fairytale scenario.
Whatever the future holds for Jason Kelce, I hope it’s in Philadelphia, and I hope it’s with the Eagles.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File