Jason Kelce announced his Eagles retirement on Monday afternoon, at a press conference from the NovaCare Complex. It did not come as a surprise, since 1) nobody calls a presser to say they’re coming back, and 2) it was reported by Adam Schefter the night of the Birds’ playoff loss that Kelce informed teammates of his decision. That initial Schefter news wasn’t exactly contested, though Kelce did say on his podcast that nothing “official” had yet been decided, leaving the door open to a proper announcement in a proper forum.

That’s how we arrived here.

Kelce was extremely  emotional from the jump, and broke up at the microphone almost immediately after sitting down. “Not a good start,” he joked, before composing himself and reading a pre-written thank you statement in which he shouted out a number of coaches and supporters over the years. He thanked Jeffrey Lurie for always showing love and appreciation to the players, cracked a joke about Chip Kelly putting Howie Roseman in storage closet B, and called Dom DiSandro “the lifeforce of this organization.” He noted that his agent told him, “you’re gonna fit in great in Philadelphia, this is your kind of town.” That agent had no idea. Not only did Kelce fit in great, he fit perfectly. Nobody meshed with this town better than Kelce did.

He also said this:

  • stepping on the field made him feel alive and free
  • the 2013 snow bowl was the most fun game he’s ever played
  • he’ll never forget Nick Foles “having the biggest dick on the team, calling the Philly Special and Doug Pederson having the biggest balls to say ‘yeah, let’s do it.'”
  • fans care and they’ve been caring for generations, he had a really nice passage about how you get back what you put into this city
  • players write the narratives, fans and media (usually) write what you give them
  • no one has been more influential or more meaningful” than Jeff Stoutland. he gave him a lot of credit for having his back in 2016 when he got off to a rough start and trade rumors started popping up
  • he says it’s not a coincidence that he’s played his best football since meeting his wife, Kylie
  • he was motivated by being an underdog and proving people wrong
  • he said it’s always been a goal to play in one city only

Kelce didn’t take questions, and didn’t have to. It really was an epic speech. Anybody who watched the Super Bowl speech knew the precedent. This one had a lot of depth and understanding and exemplified why Kelce is and always will be revered in this city. He always understood what it meant to play here, and it was nice to hear an athlete explain and elaborate on some of the things fans and media have tried to tell outsiders for decades now. The guy just exudes that next-level awareness and emotional intelligence that Lurie talked about years ago.

You have to watch it yourself. It starts about four minutes in and goes about 41 total, but it’s worth every single second of your time: