Jason Kelce has admitted that the prospect of retiring from football makes him anxious and he fears he will become depressed whenever he finally steps away from the game he loves.
Kelce reportedly told his Philadelphia Eagles team that he will retire after they were eliminated in the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January, but has since made no official announcement and hinted that he might change his mind.
Now, speaking on the Green Light podcast in Las Vegas, hosted by former Eagles teammate Chris Long, Kelce opened up about his fears about what life after football might be like for him.
“It’s exciting to think about the possibilities, it’s exciting to be able to lose weight, feel good and not have to physically fight for my life every day,” Kelce, 36, said. ‘It’s also discouraging. It’s anxiety. At the end of the day, it’s the unknown.
“People ask if you get nervous about games, but the only games I get nervous about are the first ones; you don’t know what’s coming.” Ironically, it makes you play better, it brings your senses to life. But that’s where you are when you start thinking about retirement.
Jason Kelce has admitted that the prospect of retiring from football makes him anxious
‘The possibilities are exciting. We were all lucky, we can go to many different areas. But that’s also very stressful, you don’t know what you’re going to like until you do it. You don’t know what you’re going to be satisfied with until you do it, you don’t know what you’re going to be excellent at until you do it.
‘All that stuff is in the back of your head too. No matter how you handle it, no matter who you are, how well prepared you are to move on to the next stage, everyone actually goes through a level of depression.
‘The end of one of the things you love most in your life is there and you will have to face it.
‘You may be struggling and not know it. I feel like you can be struggling in football but you get that victory, that little shot, the dopamine, like “I’ve got this.” I’m a big ‘hitman.’
Kelce stressed his belief that the Eagles are primed for a big year next season and that he is trying not to get carried away with how good the team is.
“I’m trying not to let that affect what’s happening,” he said. “I really want the decision on whether I’m going to play to be based on whether I want to play.”
‘Selfishly, I need to make that decision. Can I commit? Can I mentally be there? And do I want to endure that again? Winning helps that, but you’re trying not to factor it into the decision.
“There’s a feeling you get, the closer you get to stopping playing, where you understand what the team means to the fans, to the city.
“You understand it when you’re younger, but the more you play, the more you realize it’s something everyone will miss when you stop playing.”
Kelce will cheer on his brother Travis at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas on Sunday and has been to every Chiefs playoff game since the Eagles’ season ended.
He went crazy cheering on Travis in Buffalo against the Bills in January (the first time he met his girlfriend Taylor Swift) and jumped out the window of his VIP suite shirtless after scoring the first of two touchdowns.
The following week, when the Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens to reach the Super Bowl, an emotional Kelce admitted he wanted to continue while speaking exclusively to DailyMail.Com.
“Anytime you’re in this atmosphere, man, it’s really hard not to want to keep doing this,” he said.
‘The game is still difficult to play, selfishly and physically. It’s a tiring sport and it has its problems trying to do it as you get older… (but) it’s difficult. It is very difficult. I’ll be honest with you.’