Jason Kelce is the bearded heart and soul of the Philadelphia Eagles. He is the older brother of Kansas City Chiefs superstar Travis Kelce. And he is one of the best centers in the NFL. Kelce is also, apparently, a creative social media content creator as he used a keg of beer and a reality show host-esque dramatic pause to announce his decision on whether he’ll return for his 12th season with the Eagles.
The Phildelphia Eagles’ Jason Kelce is one of the best centers in the NFL
Jason Kelce grew up playing football in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, before staying in-state to attend the University of Cincinnati. He started his career as a Bearcat at linebacker before converting to an offensive lineman after his redshirt freshman season, per GoBearcats.com.
Kelce split time between center and guard in his first full college season before starting the final 26 games of his college career at left guard. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted the versatile lineman in the sixth round (No. 191 overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound lineman started all 16 games in his rookie year at center. Kelce missed 14 games in his second season with a knee injury, per NFL.com, but hasn’t missed a single game since.
Philadelphia’s center has made five Pro Bowls and four All-Pro teams, including the 2021 edition of both. He was also a key piece of the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl in 2017.
After the 2021 season, wherein Kelce turned 34, there was speculation around Eagles Nation that the potential Hall of Famer would retire in the offseason.
Kelce announced his decision on retirement in a unique way
The video that appeared on the Philadelphia Eagles’ Twitter account on Thursday, March 10, 2022, was a close-up of a keg of beer. A blue Solo cup appears, and a hand pours beer into the cup.
The camera pans up to Jason Kelce at an undisclosed outdoor location, and the massive center takes a long chug of the beer, leaving the remnants on his trademarked bushy beard.
“Got a lot of questions on the air yesterday about my future,” Kelce said in the video, referring to his guest-hosting gig on the local Philadelphia SportsRadio 94WIP morning show. “So, I decided I’d clear it up right now.”
The All-Pro center then slyly announced his decision:
I’ve decided to announce that I’m retiring… from hosting WIP. But I’ll definitely not retire from playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. I’m having way too much fun doing that. Looking forward to another year Philadelphia. And all my teammates, let’s go dominate.Jason Kelce on returning to the Philadelphia Eagles
And with that unique announcement befitting one of the NFL’s great characters, the Eagles have the glue that holds their offensive line together for at least another season.
Who are the best centers in the NFL?
All NFL fans can have an intelligent debate as to who the best quarterback, running back, or wide receiver is. Most serious fans also have an opinion on who the best pass rushers or defensive backs are.
But even the biggest NFL diehards might not know who the best centers in the league are.
Center is, arguably, one of the most important positions on the field. They occupy a unique position in the game as the only player on the field guaranteed to touch the ball on every offensive play.
The best centers also partner with their quarterback (or sometimes do it for young QBs) and call out protections for the line.
As the center on the 2021 All-Pro team, Jason Kelce was voted the best center in the league in 2021. However, there are other contenders for the unheralded crown.
According to PFF, two centers graded out higher last season. These two were Kansas City Chiefs rookie Creed Humphrey and the Los Angeles Chargers big 2021 offseason free-agent signing (from the Green Bay Packers) Corey Linsley.
Indianapolis Colts C Ryan Kelly made the AFC Pro Bowl team alongside Linsley and the San Francisco 49ers Alex Mack and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ryan Jensen represented the NFC as Kelce opted out.
It takes a true offensive line guru to truly understand which of these centers is better. But if any NFL fan wants to impress at a cocktail party, naming your top six NFL centers as Kelce, Humphry, Linsley, Kelly, Mack, and Jensen will be a good start.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference