How Jason Kelce knew retirement was the right decision

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Philadelphia Eagles star center Jason Kelce tearfully announced his NFL retirement on Tuesday after 13 seasons.

In a new episode of his hit podcast "New Heights," he addressed "everything that [was] involved in making that decision."

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Jason Kelce's brother and podcast co-host, kicked off the episode by saying, "Jason has just made his big announcement and we've got to talk about it."

PHOTO: Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce reacts during an NFL football press conference announcing his retirement in Philadelphia, March 4, 2024.  (Matt Rourke/AP)
PHOTO: Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce reacts during an NFL football press conference announcing his retirement in Philadelphia, March 4, 2024. (Matt Rourke/AP)

"Seven Pro Bowls, six first team All-Pro seasons, 193 total games, 156 consecutive starts and a Super Bowl champion -- you have officially decided to hang 'em up dude, and we couldn't be more proud of you man," he continued. "The retirement speech was one for the ages -- if you haven't seen it, grab a box of Kleenex before you do it. The guy poured his heart out as he does every single time talking about the things that he loves."

MORE: Philadelphia Eagles' Jason Kelce announces NFL retirement after 13 seasons

Jason Kelce then noted the decision had been "a long time coming."

"Obviously I've debated retiring for the last few seasons," he said, adding, "I knew that that's what I wanted to do and it was nerve wracking getting to that day."

Regarding his lengthy and emotional retirement speech, he said much of what he included came from "notes that I've compiled throughout my career."

"It felt good to finally get it out there in some ways -- in other ways, it's still hard and it hurts ... more just hard to come to grips with the finality of it," the 36-year-old said.

Despite the prep that went into his speech, Jason Kelce admitted, "I was hoping I had said it enough times that I wouldn't cry as much as I did. I think it's good to show emotion through it, but I was sobbing before I even started."

Travis Kelce asked his brother whether anyone had helped influence his decision, to which Jason Kelce replied, "Me."

"And that's how I knew ... because it was more firm than it's ever been this year that I just don't think physically I can compete at the level that I want to anymore," he said.

He cited elbow and knee issues -- with possible worsening recovery and deterioration -- as a potential problem on the gridiron, which he said "hasn't really manifested on game day yet, but I know it's going to start doing that."

"I'm hard on myself. If I go out there and I'm not the player that I want to be, it'll crush me. So, I feel very confident in the decision I made. I know that it's time, I've had a really good run," he said.

While Jason Kelce said teammates and friends would support him and want him to play if that's what he wanted, he noted, "The reality is, I don't want to do that anymore."

"There will always be parts of me that want to go out on game day and play and want to compete and want to be there with your teammates -- that stuff will never go away -- but just the physical portion was at a point that it's not a desire to continue to do, and that's something that I think I can do and be happy about it," he said.

He added, "So yeah, it's over. And that's good."

MORE: Jason Kelce praises wife Kylie in retirement speech: What to know about their family

The dad of three, who has been married to wife Kylie Kelce since 2018, said that life after the NFL seems "terrifying in some ways," as he has "only really played football my whole life," but he sounded optimistic for what lies ahead.

"At the end of the day, it's still a new chapter, so I'm incredibly excited about what could happen and also nervous about what life is gonna look like now," he said.

Donna Kelce surprises sons Jason and Travis with homemade cookies at Super Bowl

The Super Bowl 58 champion also asked his big brother to walk listeners through his retirement announcement outfit choice.

"This is a shirt that has holes in it, and I've worn and practiced [in it], every year I've lifted weights in it," Jason Kelce explained of his black sleeveless Eagles top. "This shirt, in some ways, was a part of this journey with me more than anything else in the closet."

Longtime Eagles trainer Joe O'Pella also supported part of the retirement day look. According to Jason Kelce, O'Pella is in remission after battling cancer all season long, and hadn't been able to tape his ankles during his final season.

"He's taped my ankles my whole career, so he taped my ankles for the press conference one last time," Jason Kelce said.

PHOTO: NFL players Travis, right, and Jason Kelce celebrate after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics during the second half at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on March 5, 2024 in Cleveland. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports via Reuters)
PHOTO: NFL players Travis, right, and Jason Kelce celebrate after the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics during the second half at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on March 5, 2024 in Cleveland. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports via Reuters)

The football duo from Westlake, Ohio attended the Kelce Brothers bobblehead night with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. In their podcast, Travis Kelce jokingly asked his brother if his bobblehead is what he expects to look like now that he's retired.

"It's hard to gauge cause my head's so large," the retired NFL star answered, looking at himself in bobblehead form. "That is one thing that happens with offensive linemen, when they lose a bunch of weight they go too far and it never really shrinks back down -- so if I go too light, then I'll actually look like this bobblehead, and I don't want to look like that."

In the episode, the brothers also chatted about Travis Kelce's recent trip to Australia following the Super Bowl and his experiences in Sydney, the brothers' bobblehead night with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Jason Kelce's retirement announcement outfit choice.

The full podcast episode is streaming now and available to watch on YouTube.

How Jason Kelce knew retirement was the right decision originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com