The former Philadelphia Eagles’ center retired from the NFL on Monday


Andy Reid drafted Jason Kelce in the 2011 NFL Draft 

Andy Reid drafted Jason Kelce in the 2011 NFL DraftLAPRESSE

After 13 remarkable seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Jason Kelce bid a tearful farewell to the NFL during an emotional retirement press conference.

Surrounded by family and friends, Kelce reflected on his journey from draft night to his final days on the field, sharing heartfelt anecdotes and expressing gratitude for the support he received throughout his career.

During his retirement speech, Kelce reminisced about the unforgettable phone call he received from then-Eagles head coach Andy Reid on draft night, informing him of his selection as the 191st overall pick.

Kelce’s draft night memories and Andy Reid’s influence

Jason shared a joyous moment shared with his father, as his childhood dreams were realized before his eyes.

He recalled seeing his dad “rushing into the room with tear streaming down his face as his sons dreams had just been realized.”

This pivotal moment not only marked the beginning of Kelce’sNFL journey but also cemented his family’s legacy in the league.

Kelce’s draft story also intertwined with the journey of his younger brother, Travis Kelce, who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs two years later.

Despite initial skepticism from Coach Reid, Jason went above and beyond to advocate for Travis, ensuring that the talented tight end received an opportunity to showcase his skills in the NFL.

Reid’s eventual endorsement, coupled with Jason’s unwavering support, paved the way for Travis’ successful career with the Chiefs.

Andy Reid trusted Travis’ “roots” thanks to Jason

In a revealing episode of the New Heights podcast hosted by Travis and Jason back in May of 2023, Coach Reid shared insights into his relationship with the Kelce brothers and the pivotal role they played in his coaching career.

Reflecting on Travis’ college days and draft prospects, Reid acknowledged the initial challenges he faced in coaching the talented tight.

Talking about Travis’ attitude he described him as “Cocky, cocky, damn, he was cocky. But listen, I knew the roots.”

However, he praised Travis’ growth as a player and leader, highlighting his invaluable contributions to the Chiefs’ success.

“I’ve watched him blossom into a leader and he’s always been a great player, but a tremendous leader. Big heart, teammates love him. You’re (Jason) not the only leader in the family.”

As Jason Kelce bids farewell to the NFL, his legacy extends beyond his on-field achievements.

Through his unwavering determination and leadership, Kelce has left an indelible mark on the Eagles organization and the football community at large.