Former Eagles Center Jason Kelce Leaves a Lasting Legacy

by Marc Narducci | Mar 15, 2024
Former Eagles Center Jason Kelce Leaves a Lasting Legacy
There aren’t many athletes who retire when they are at the top of their game, but that didn’t stop now-former Eagles icon Jason Kelce. According to Pro Football Focus, Kelce played 1,108 offensive snaps and allowed just one sack. This past season he was named first-team All-Pro for the sixth time in his career while earning his seventh Pro Bowl berth.

According to Eagles.com Kelce is one of only three centers in NFL history to be named an NFL All-Pro player at least five times. The other two centers are Hall of Famers Dermontti Dawson and Mike Webster.

What is interesting about Kelce is how well he played in the second part of his career.

Kelce didn’t earn his initial first-team All-Pro honor until the 2017 season—the year the Eagles won the Super Bowl. He would earn first-team honors in six of his final seven seasons. 

In addition to his stellar play, Kelce displayed excellent durability. He ended his career starting in 156 consecutive regular-season games. Kelce, a sixth round draft choice out of Cincinnati in the 2011 draft, ended up playing 193 regular season games. He also appeared in 12 playoff games, of which the Eagles went 6-6.

Besides winning the Super Bowl in 2017, he appeared in another Super Bowl, when the Eagles lost 38-35 to the Kansas Chiefs following the 2022 season.

So, Kelce not only achieved individual honors, but also was a major factor of winning teams.

Yes, the Eagles fell apart this past season after starting 10-1, but Kelce’s play didn’t slip.

Teammates and those who covered Kelce talked glowingly about his leadership. At the center position, that is especially important, with the line calls he had to make. He was definitely the QB of the Eagles offensive line. 

More than that, Kelce was the heart of the team. He was a player who served as a spokesman, somebody who did so much charitable work and at the end of the day, will go down as one of the greatest Eagles of all-time.

Replacing him will be difficult.

It was interesting that even though he was at the top of his game, Kelce stated at his retirement press conference that he had nothing else to give.

As a so-called under-sized center (6’2”, 295 pounds), he took a pounding and gave everything into being such a top-flight player.

Yet, Kelce didn’t want to cheat the game. He could have come back, earned a lucrative contract, but when you pour everything into your profession, it’s tough to do it all over again, mini-camps, training camps, for another year after 13 grinding seasons.  

Kelce played hurt so often, another testament to his courage and character. 

He certainly has a bright future. His podcast with his brother—and Kansas City tight end—Travis, is one of the most popular podcasts around. The networks will likely be bidding for his services on pre-game shows, although I would use him as a game analyst. 

Either way, he should have plenty of airtime next football season.

One career has ended, and Kelce should be ready to become a giant in whatever he decides to do football wise, for his second career.

Photo Courtesy of Eagles' Twitter

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Author: Marc Narducci

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