Reported to be retiring, the beloved Philadelphia Eagles center would be a popular leader in his adopted hometown
Philadelphia Eagles team captain Jason Kelce is ruminating on calling it a career after 13 seasons, tearing up as he discussed the possibility on his New Heights podcast Wednesday morning, but the seven-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl LII winner and surefire Hall of Famer — not to mention a dad of three and cattle farm owner — has plenty to keep him occupied in retirement.
Including, if he wanted to, a career in politics, given how beloved he is in his hometown.
“Jason could run for mayor of Philadelphia and win,” a source close to the Kelce family tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “[The city is] obsessed with him. Aside from his being a superstar athlete, Philly embraces him because of who he is — just a good, lovable family dude.”
Kelce, 36, memorably contemplated retirement after the 2022 season, as chronicled in the Amazon Prime Video’s Kelce, the service’s most-watched documentary ever. Ultimately, he announced in a Tweet to the collective elation of The City of Brotherly Love: “Thank you to all my supporters and detractors for fueling me, I ain’t f—-in’ done yet!”
The prospect of Kelce running for public office has been joked about before. Last March, after he spoke out on his New Heights podcast, which he co-hosts with his brother Travis, 34, about the annoyances of spam calls and texts and the need for consequences, listeners attempted to push the idea forward.
“If we weren’t all rooting for another Kelce Bowl, this could be the jump off for the Kelce Kampaign ‘24,” wrote one. Said another: “I would allow Kelce to retire only if he ran for mayor.”
Kelce, for his part, has made it clear he has no interest in politics. But he has discussed the possibility at length. In November 2022, when asked about any future political aspirations, he told Heavy.com that launching a campaign was a “great way to be hated by at least half the people.”
But if he did decide to enter politics, Kelce would have a few things going for him, including a close-knit, supportive family. He shares daughters Wyatt, 4, Elliotte, 2, and Bennett, 11 months, with Kylie McDevitt, 31, his wife of five years.
“Kylie is very sweet and level-headed,” says another source. “Everybody loves her, and they’re great partners. Jason has a crazy schedule, but they balance it really well. They make it all work.”
He would also have support of his mother Donna, 71, a national treasure in her own right and a constant presence in his life.
“The most important thing is to value your children, and to [do that], you have to spend time with them,” she recently told PEOPLE. “It may seem simple, but if they know you took the time to come and watch whatever endeavor — sports, art, music — you show them you value them as human beings. That’s all you need to do as a parent.”
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Of course, Kelce has enough to focus on between his many endorsements, a working Missouri cattle farm, the podcast, which is currently No. 8 on the Spotify charts, his (Be)Philly nonprofit foundation and Underdog Apparel, his clothing line that benefits young people in Philadelphia.
“Hopefully, I can accomplish a lot of things that public office can do by not having to hold public office,” he told Heavy in 2022. “That might be the sweet spot that I’m looking for.”
Still, if you’re hoping for someone to unite the left and right, who better than an All-Pro center?
For more on Jason and Travis Kelce, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.
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