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Eagles C Jason Kelce admits Super Bowl LVII loss affected his decision to return in 2023

Jason Kelce's offseason began with a major decision: Walk away from football with a heartbreaking loss as his final NFL memory, or give it another go in 2023?

By now, we all know Kelce chose the latter. And while common sense advises to make such significant calls with the head, not the heart, it was pretty easy to see the competitor in Kelce was never going to allow anything other than a return to the Eagles.

"Having lost one now, I think for sure -- you can try and not let that be a factor, but man, the hunger and the desire to get back there and finish it, even though it's going to be a completely new season, new set of guys and not the same team, you can't help but that be a factor," Kelce explained during an appearance on Sports Take with Rob Ellis and Derrick Gunn.

Prior to the 2022 season, Kelce had only known what it felt like to win a Super Bowl. Last season taught him just how painful it was to lose, even while he could find a silver lining in his loss in Super Bowl LVII equaling a win for his younger brother, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

The last few years have been incredibly tumultuous for Kelce, who was one of a handful of holdovers from Philadelphia's Super Bowl LII-winning team. This meant that while he very much knew the joy of winning a title, he also endured enough frustration in the years that followed to send a man to retirement.

Incredibly, though, the Eagles returned to prominence in rapid fashion, and much like the 2017 Eagles, Kelce played an essential part in their rise. He was the heartbeat of a locker room that desperately needed veteran leadership in 2021, helping those Eagles reach the playoffs despite low expectations. A year later, after deciding he wasn't done with the game, he helped Philadelphia return to the Super Bowl.

A year later, he had made the same decision, gearing up for another campaign in 2023. The camaraderie and teamwork necessary to succeed in football is part of what keeps Kelce coming back.

"That's the aspect that all the former players say they miss the most," Kelce explained. "It's not the actual game, you know, it's being in the locker room, it's going and playing the game but with your teammates. It's being around, quite frankly, a group of individuals who are all driven to be the best they can be. They're not just subsiding and getting by. You guys are all in this together trying to be the best in the world at what you do -- that's a hard thing to come by.

"I've learned through talking to former players that that is the thing I'm probably going to miss the most. I think that's the thing that most guys miss. I think that's why they say keep playing until you can't, because they know, having been made that decision already, that you're going to miss that, and you don't want to let that go."

Kelce's bond with his teammates is perpetually evident. Look no further than the Christmas album he and fellow Eagles linemen Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata recorded and released last year; colleagues who keep the focus on business and go their separate ways at the end of the day don't collaborate on such a project.

Such closeness behooves any team. The Eagles proved it in 2022, even if they didn't win a Super Bowl.

Kelce hopes they'll get the job done in 2023.

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