NEW ORLEANS - Jason Kelce is 31, still in his NFL prime, but it's clear he's reached the point of his career where we can't take it for granted that he'll be back next season.
In the wake of the Eagles' heart-breaking 20-14 loss Sunday to the Saints at the Superdome, the Eagles' longtime center spoke candidly about his future.
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This is a game where I am getting older and I think that for the last three years, realistically, I've tried to stay in the moment and stay in the season. At the end of the year, you reassess and reevaluate. I certainly have not made any decision or anything like that. It's the same situation as last year and the year before. It's probably a similar situation to what Chris Long has been through the last few years. Nick Foles has mentioned it.
The reality is, it's a hard game physically and the older you get, the competitor in you, the player in you, obviously, wants to keep playing, keep going. And through the rigors of the season, my family and friends are taking the brunt of all the positives and negatives going on. So I can't stress (enough) that I haven't made a decision to retire at all. This is a season-by-season basis thing that probably will happen for the rest of my career.
This topic of conversation came up Sunday after a report from 610 ESPN Radio said Kelce was likely to retire at the end of this playoff run. That report has since been rebutted by several outlets.
But it does seem clear that Kelce is at the very least thinking about his future in football. Kelce is currently signed through the 2020 season and is coming off his second consecutive All-Pro season.
In 2019, Kelce will make $6.5 million and is set to make $7 million in 2020, but none of that is guaranteed. So perhaps it's time for the Eagles to rework his deal. The Eagles can't really afford to lose Kelce; his importance to the offense is hard to overstate.
But Kelce mentioned that this year was rough on him physically. He dealt with several nagging and some serious injuries. He's 31 now, after all.
He said a few times Sunday that he wanted to stress he has not made a decision.
"As of right now, I'm a Philadelphia Eagle and I'm still gonna be here next year," he said. "All of these things, just like every season, this will be the way it is until I'm done playing. There's going to be a reevaluation of where my life's at and where my family's at and that's how it goes now."
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