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Jason Kelce is retiring from arm wrestling but returning to the Eagles in 2020

Good news!

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce confirmed he’s returning for the 2020 NFL season. He posted the following message via his verified Instagram account on Thursday morning:

Until now I haven’t address my future because I have been mulling it over for some time this offseason. I wanted to allow my body and mind to fully recover from the rigors of an NFL season, and take time with my family to see what lies ahead. After thinking long and hard about this I have come to a decision. I have decided to RETIRE... from arm wrestling. I leave behind a 2-0 record, one win against this man, and the other being against @28cgiroux [Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux] and want to go out on top. It was a good run, but my drunken arm wrestling days are behind me, and it’s better to move on to a more mature future. I thank everyone along the way that has made this possible! Especially @brickandbrew for cutting me off after this debacle (which was completely warranted, love you guys) and getting me to sleep. Despite this retirement, I am fully excited for the 2020 season and will be out there with my teammates, coaches and hopefully fans this coming season. Enough media members and fans have reached out if I am playing next season, and I just wanted to make an announcement so I can stop getting asked. Can’t wait to be out there this season, can’t wait to have sports back, and I can’t wait till this lockdown is over. #GoEagles

I wonder how many people started to panic before they realized it was a fake-out. There would’ve been good reason to worry if Kelce was walking away. Thankfully for the Eagles’ sake, Kelce has at least one more season in him.

It wasn’t seriously expected that Kelce was going to retire this offseason. The veteran offensive lineman gave thought to retirement last year but that was before he signed a new contract through 2021. Kelce retiring this offseason would’ve left the Eagles with over $17 million in dead money and a loss of $9.6 million in cap space.

Still, it’s good to know that Kelce will definitely be back for 2020, assuming there’s even a season to be played. He’s arguably one of the best offensive linemen in the entire league.

Kelce’s return should not preclude the Eagles from thinking about the future of the center position. He turns 33 in November and doesn’t have any guaranteed salary in 2021, the last year of his current deal. The team could still look to add an interior offensive lineman through the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Eagles may view Isaac Seumalo as Kelce’s heir but he’s had snapping issues while lining up at center during offseason practices. Moving Seumalo to center in the future would also mean finding a new starting left guard. The Eagles seem to have some hope for 2019 undrafted rookie free agent signing Nate Herbig but he’s far from a lock to pan out.

The future of the center position in Philly very much remains to be seen. In the meantime, the Eagles will be happy to have Kelce starting for them this year.


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