Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce started his 116th regular-season/playoff NFL game Sunday at the New Orleans Saints.
Following a 20-14 loss in New Orleans, it may as well have been his last game.
According to a report on 610 ESPN Radio in Philadelphia, the eighth-year veteran is contemplating retirement.
Various media outlets have disputed the report, though nothing had been made official.
Kelce said after the game he has not made a decision about next season but has been thinking about retirement for the last two, three seasons, ESPN reported.
Retirement would be a major surprise, considering how well he played this season. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder is considered the best center in the NFL, having made the All Pro team for the second straight year.
He is also among the most durable. He has not missed a game since the 2014 season, when he underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia. He was supposed to be out for two months, but only missed four games.
Kelce joined the Eagles as a sixth-round draft pick in 2011 out the University of Cincinnati.
Only tackle Jason Peters (2009) and defensive end Brandon Graham (2010) have been with the team longer.
During his career, he’s become one of the franchise’s most reliable and most popular players. Last season, he donned a Mummer’s costume and delivered an epic speech after the Eagles won Super Bowl LII.
Kelce, 31, could be wanting to renegotiate his contract. He is scheduled to make $6.5 million in 2019 and $7 million in 2020 as part of the six-year, $37.5 million contract extension he signed in 2014. According to OvertheCap.com, he is the 14th-highest paid center in the NFL with an average salary of $6,277,823. Tampa Bay’s Ryan Jensen is the highest-paid with an average salary of $10.5 million.
Retirement has also been mentioned as a possibility for running back Darren Sproles. He was planning on leaving the NFL after last season but changed his plans after missing most of the season with a knee injury.
The 35-year-old also missed 10 games this year with a hamstring injury, but his return to action since has seen him become one of the Eagles’ top offensive performers. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and has repeatedly said he’s not decided on whether to continue his career.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said last month he would love to have Sproles on the team if he continues to keep playing.
“I think Darren Sproles would be a great addition,” Pederson said. “He’s a great leader. He works hard. He’s a great mentor to a lot of young players. I think anybody would love to have a Darren Sproles. I mean, I would.”