Jason Kelce plans to block out a decision on his football future for at least a few more days.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ six-time Pro Bowl center could be suiting up for the last time on Sunday if his team loses to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
A victory over the 49ers might make Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz., his last time on the gridiron. Or he could return for the 2023 season.
Kelce, 35, has pondered retirement before so all options are on the table as he pursues the second Super Bowl ring of his stellar career. He won his first ring in the 2017 season when Doug Pedersen coached the Eagles.
“You know I think, it was maybe three years ago — I think that might’ve been Doug’s last year — it was on my mind quite a bit,” Kelce said on Thursday. “So, I’ve learned now that I don’t know when that last game is going to come. Maybe I think about it a little bit less. There’s always a chance that’s going to be the situation.
“But, you just try to think about the game and focus on taking in the moment and being 100 percent there. It’s hard enough doing it that way. It’s going to be a lot harder if you’re not focused.”
Kelce is the older brother of Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce and that is prompting a lot of conversation with the Chiefs also one of the last four teams standing.
Travis Kelce also has won a Super Bowl ring in his stellar career so an Eagles-Chiefs Super Bowl would mean one of the Kelce brothers would land a second Super Bowl ring.
The matchup is appealing to Jason Kelce but the veteran with 176 regular-season starts and nine more in the postseason knows not to look too far ahead.
“Yeah, that would be great,” Jason Kelce said. “That could definitely happen. We’ve got to win this week, first.”
Kelce is a master of preparation and knows a lack of focus can bring a team down.
The Eagles are the top-seeded team in the NFC but a stumble on Sunday would be a crushing blow.
“We all know the circumstances, it’s one and done from here on out in the playoffs,” Kelce said. “You’re only guaranteed the next one. The formula and everything is the same. You work hard, you practice hard, you trust your fundamentals and your techniques and your coaching and you play.
“Don’t try to be anything different. The circumstances are going to dictate a lot more aggression and emotion but you try to keep that in check so you don’t do anything uncharacteristic.”
And don’t get Kelce started on the environment or the weather when it comes to Sunday’s game. He’s a staunch believer that variety trumps the same atmosphere each time you step on the field.
“I actually like when they had the Super Bowl in New York (on Feb. 2, 2014) and it was snowing and everybody was all (ticked) off,” Kelce said with forecast gametime temps in the 50s on Sunday. “This is what football is like, man. The elements make a difference. Every game shouldn’t be 70, 80 degrees on Sunday.
“In football, it’s what team is better on that day. That’s one of the things you appreciate about the game.”
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