Jason Kelce, at least according to a nationwide panel of 50 media members, is still considered the best center in the NFL.
“It’s always nice to be honored and to be shown that type of respect no matter how many times you’ve had it before,” the Eagles’ center said after being named a first-team All Pro at his position Friday for the sixth time in his 13-year career.
Kelce was the Eagles’ only first-team All Pro, but three others — A.J. Brown, Jake Elliott and Lane Johnson — were named to the second team. He’s the first center in the Super Bowl era to be named a first-team All Pro six times and he joined Reggie White and Chuck Bednarik as the only Eagles to be named a first-team All Pro six times.
The big question is this: Will Kelce retire after this season when he is still considered among the elite at his position?
“I don’t think that has any impact on my future or anything like that,” Kelce said after practice Friday. “The reality is you just go about your work and anything that happens outside of that shouldn’t weigh on anything you’re doing or anything that’s taking place.”
Kelce, however, admitted that the thought of retirement has crept into his mind as the Eagles prepare to play what could be his final game Monday night against the Buccaneers in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs.
“I think that’s been natural the last three seasons for me,” Kelce said. “Whenever you’re older in your career, you never know when that’s going to be. I try to remind guys what my dad has told me from the moment I started playing football: You step off the curb one day and that could be the end of your career.
“You try to approach every game with that mindset, but obviously the closer and the older you get to that being a realization puts it out in front a little bit more. But obviously that’s not the main thing. The main thing is going out there and battling with each of the guys in that locker room. No matter how many more years I play or any of us play, this team right now potentially only has one game left. And that’s what we’re really focused on.”
Guard Landon Dickerson said he has talked to Kelce about staying with the Eagles beyond this season, but he knows the decision is ultimately up to the veteran center. Kelce’s contract, according to overthecap.com, is designed to allow the Eagles to carry the center on the roster until June of this year and then place him on the retired list if that’s the route he decides to go. If the future Hall of Famer decides to play another season the Eagles will have to sign him to an extension.