Watch CBS News

Fans bid farewell to Philadelphia Eagles legend Jason Kelce after retirement

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce announces NFL retirement after 13 seasons
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce announces NFL retirement after 13 seasons 41:55

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Eagles fans and most Philadelphians are bidding a fond farewell to Jason Kelce after he announced his retirement Monday at the NovaCare Complex. 

"I wish him the best. And we love him and we're going to miss him," said Christine Hubbert of New Jersey, who was touring Lincoln Financial Field on Monday with a class from Timber Creek High School.

Kelce, in a tearful speech, announced his retirement from the NFL after spending all 13 years of his career in Philadelphia.

Dave Batchlor, who watched Kelce's speech from Chickie's and Pete's in South Philly, said that emotion shows more of the longtime center expressing his love for the city.

"It shows how much he cares for the city. He gets the city, understands the city, and the city gets him. He's one of us," Batchlor, of New Jersey, said. "The city only gets a few players that understand the city, the A.I.'s, the Dawkins, the Kelces. So to lose a guy like that is huge for the city."

Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese recaps Jason Kelce's career 07:40

Fans say it's that connection that made a former sixth-round draft pick from the University of Cincinnati a near-household name in Philadelphia. That didn't happen overnight, and Kelce reached different people in different ways. Fans on Monday lauded his leadership.

"When he comes to the field, he just gets everybody so motivated. And he's such a team guy, a great guy," Kelly Strickland, of New Jersey, said. 

Others were drawn to his booming personality, on full display following the Eagles Super Bowl LII victory.

"The Mummers speech after the Super Bowl was, like, classic," Batchlor said. "It's always gonna have history."

Whatever they remember most about the Eagles great, for many, Kelce's impact on the city transcended the football field. And one word that continued to come up talking with fans: family.

Jason Kelce Announces Retirement from the NFL
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - MARCH 04: Jason Kelce #62 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after announcing his retirement from the NFL at NovaCare Complex on March 04, 2024 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images

"He's Philadelphia's family. We think we know them but we don't. Aunt Donna and Uncle Ed," Mary Ellen and Katelyn Pirring, of Delaware County, said referring to Kelce's mother and father.

The six-time All-Pro admitted during his emotional speech he doesn't know what's next for him. Given his energy and playful personality, it's easy to speculate that he'll be in a broadcast booth somewhere next football season.

But Eagles fans hope their connection to the Kelces doesn't end Monday, and that the beloved city icon can remain with the team in some way, shape, or form.

"I hope he keeps in contact and does something with Philadelphia. Philadelphia fans just love him," a fan from New Jersey said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.