The star tight end was asked on Thursday whether he had made a decision about his future in regard to potentially retiring, and he left no doubts about his desire to keep playing beyond this season.
“You guys don’t think about retirement? Am I the only one in this boat? Whoever is not thinking about stuff down the road, I blame you. I have no reason to stop playing football, man. I love it,” the 34-year-old Kelce said. “We’re still having success, coming in with the right mindset, and I just love the challenge it gives me every single day to keep being my best. I have no desire to stop any time soon.”
In a November interview with the Wall Street Journal, Kelce revealed he ponders retirement “more than anyone could ever imagine” and opened up about the physical toll football has taken on his body.
“That’s the only thing I’ve never really been open about, the discomfort. The pain,” Kelce told the Wall Street Journal. “The lingering injuries – the 10 surgeries I’ve had that I still feel every single surgery to this day.”
But while Kelce may constantly think about retirement and have a busy off-the-field life — from his relationship with pop megastar Taylor Swift to his successful podcast with his brother Jason Kelce, among other things — he doesn’t sound like he’s that close to actually hanging up the pads and cleats.
“That’s the point of the offseason, being able to get out there and find what you really love to do,” Kelce said Thursday when asked about his post-playing-career plans. “I’ve been fortunate to do a few things outside the sports world that I enjoy doing — being on camera, the (“Saturday Night Live”) stuff. It opened up some new happiness and a new career path for me. It’s funny to even say that at this point in my career because it’s so much further down the road.”
Kelce is in the midst of a Hall of Fame career. He’s a nine-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion. His 11,328 career receiving yards rank fourth all-time among tight ends and his 74 career touchdowns are tied for fifth at the position.
Kelce, who’s under contract through the 2025 season, came up just shy of an eighth straight 1,000-yard season, finishing with 984 receiving yards and five touchdowns over 15 games this season.
And Kelce could soon pick up a third Super Bowl ring as Kansas City enters the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the AFC. The Chiefs will host the Miami Dolphins on Saturday night in a game that could be one of the coldest in NFL history.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.