According to reports by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Tuesday, Kelce has told his teammates that he is retiring, following the Eagles’ 32-9 Wildcard round playoff loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
However, the 36-year-old explained on Wednesday that he has not officially retired as of yet and that emotions were running too high for him to make an announcement after the game.
“I didn’t announce what I was doing on purpose, despite, I guess, what’s been leaked to the media,” Kelce said on the “New Heights” podcast.
“But I think there’s a lot of – people can kind of feel body language and stuff. I just don’t think you’re in a position after a game like that to really make that decision. I just don’t.
“There’s too much emotion in the moment. There’s too much going down in the moment to really fully grasp that decision.
Kelce, who has spent his entire NFL career with the Eagles, is a seven-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro selection and is widely considered to be a future Pro Football Hall of Famer.
He won Super LII against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in 2018, but came up short against his brother Travis’ Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII last season. It was the first time that two brothers played against each other in a Super Bowl.
Kelce and Philadelphia were viewed as potential Super Bowl contenders at one point this season after leaping out to a 10-1 record but lost five of their last six games before falling at the first hurdle on the road against the Buccaneers.
After an earlier than planned exit, Kelce was visibly emotional and did not speak with reporters. Now, he has said he is no rush to make an announcement on his future.
“I’m not trying to be dramatic and continue to draw this thing out,” he insisted. “I’m really not.
“It’s just something I think that when it’s time to officially announce what’s happening in the future, it’ll be done in a way that’s definitive and it pays respect to a lot of people and individuals that have meant a lot to me, what has led to the career I’ve had.
“I don’t think it would be respectful or accurate to be able to do that right after a game like that.
“Frustrated, I guess, kind of, at everything that’s happening. But in the future, there will be something said, I guess. But I did address the team and pretty much said the same thing I just said to you (Travis).”
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts described his center as a “legend in the city” and paid tribute to his impact on Philadelphia, the league and on the young QB himself.
“He knows how much I love and appreciate him,” Hurts told the media. “He knows how much I’ve learned from him. He’ll forever have a special place in my heart.”
“He’s special and I love him,” added Philly head coach Nick Sirriani. “He’s one of the most special guys I’ve been around.”
CNN’s Ben Morse contributed to reporting.
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