Donna Kelce's double-feature wild-card Sunday wasn't just for the likes.
The mother of Jason and Travis Kelce hopped on a plane from Tampa to Kansas City to catch both of her sons' playoff games because, well, it doesn't exactly happen every year. And there's a real chance it was her last opportunity to do so, because retirement is a possibility for 34-year-old Jason.
Kelce's 11th professional season came to a close with Philadelphia's 31-15 loss to Tampa Bay on Super Wild Card Weekend, ending the Eagles' unlikely run to the playoffs that might not have happened without the veteran center. Kelce was the emotional engine that drove Philadelphia's postseason push, coupling that with stellar play to help a young Eagles squad navigate the regular season and come out winners enough to qualify for the extra contest.
The center has discussed his future on multiple occasions this season, and though he's still playing at a premier level, Father Time waits for no one (except Tom Brady). Eagles coach Nick Sirianni is very much aware of this reality, and made sure to let Kelce know just how much the first-year head coach appreciated his pivot's contributions with the hopes he isn't ready to hang up his cleats just yet.
"I sent him two kegs of beer," Sirianni said Thursday morning during an appearance on WIP, via The Philadelphia Inquirer. "He's awesome and I've told him how much we want him back. He's an unbelievable leader. Everything you hear about -- if you don't know Jason Kelce personally, everything you hear about him is as advertised. He's awesome, he's a great leader, he's a great player.
"He's the backbone of this team. He's so smart as a football player -- he makes us go as a team. ... I think in the middle of the year I said, 'You got five more years in you?' As long as he wants to go, we want him to go."
Kelce's performance hasn't diminished even as he's aged. Pro Football Focus graded him as the third-best center in the NFL in 2021, a season in which Kelce earned his fourth first-team All-Pro nod while guiding an offensive line that required two young guards (Landon Dickerson and Nate Herbig) to step into the starting lineup. With Kelce leading the group, Philadelphia transformed into the NFL's best rushing offense during the season, clearing the way for five different runners -- quarterback Jalen Hurts and running backs Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell -- to rush for a combined total of 2,614 yards.
Kelce has defined reliability, starting in every game from 2015-2021. Sirianni hopes Kelce's streak of 129 consecutive starts isn't about to come to an end due to retirement.
"I'll be trying to convince him every single day to come back and play, and we'll see how it goes," Sirianni said. "Ultimately, Jason has to do what's best for himself and his family, but we would love the opportunity to have Kelce back on this football team to help us lead the way again."
Forever a hero in Philadelphia for his play and his performance during the team's Super Bowl LII celebration parade, Eagles fans will always revere Kelce for his contributions to the club's success over the last decade. They'll spend the offseason waiting with fingers crossed to see if Kelce will return for a 12th NFL season.