Jason Kelce will be ‘tough’ to replace in Eagles locker room, says Andy Reid, as the Chiefs head coach opens up on watching the legendary center and ‘tremendous’ brother Travis grow

Jason Kelce and Andy Reid


Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid insisted his former player Jason Kelce will be hard to replace in the Philadelphia Eagles’ locker room.


Travis and Jason Kelce and Andy Reid

Kelce, 36, announced his retirement from the NFL earlier this month, bringing the curtain down on a 13-year career with the Eagles.

The legendary center, who spent all 13 seasons in Philadelphia, was a big presence in the Eagles’ locker room.

Reid, who drafted Kelce in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL draft while he was still head coach in Philadelphia, claimed Kelce’s leadership will be hard to replicate.

‘It’s tough for a couple of reasons,’ he told Sports Radio WIP. ‘I don’t know who’s coming up behind him but he had a big voice in there.

‘Not only was he a great player but he also had the leadership. He did it on the field, he also did it off the field, which was important. All those guys keeping everybody in line is a big thing. I’m sure they have other guys who can work in there.

‘I haven’t studied their roster enough, but the younger you are, the tougher it is. Although he seemed to do it when he came in. He kinda took over things right away.’

The 66-year-old coached Kelce for only two years before he was fired by Philadelphia and became the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs.

In Kansas City, Reid drafted Kelce’s younger brother, Travis Kelce, in the third round of the 2013 draft.

The coach has gone on to win three Super Bowls with Travis and the Chiefs, including the past two years.

And Reid opened up on his relationship with the entire Kelce family as he expressed his pride in the retired NFL veteran.

‘That family, I’ve become close with it,’ he said, via Zach Berman. ‘Between Travis and then Jason, I’ve watched both guys grow. Tremendous players, and Jason is a great leader — emotional player, brings that to the table, and has done so for a long time. 13 years? That’s a long time. My hat goes off to him.

‘He’s going out on top as a player, an All-Pro player. Could he have played a couple more years? Probably. But that body, it’s taken a lot of pounding. And he’s got a nice little gig going now.

Andy Reid and Jason Kelce

‘But listen, I’m proud — I love the kid, and I’m proud of him for making that decision. Whatever he does, he’s going to do great at.’

Jason okayed a big role in convincing Reid to draft his younger brother after the head coach held his reservations over the tight end.

The coach was convinced of his on-field ability but Travis’s season-long suspension from the University of Cincinnati team for multiple positive marijuana tests was a sticking point.

But Travis’s big brother Jason, who was also drafted by Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles, played an instrumental role in convincing the veteran coach to take a chance on his brother.

The center said Reid called him shortly before the draft to ask if he could take a shot on the younger Kelce.

‘I felt like he was asking me in the moment, “You realize I’m taking this shot on him. I want to make sure this works out,”’ Jason told ESPN.