Before her son Jason Kelce told his teammates he was retiring from football, Donna Kelce reflected on what made the Philadelphia Eagles center so great.
She focused not on his status as a likely future Hall of Famer, but the heart he brought to the game – and how much his team’s city loves him.
“It’s exciting to see how Philadelphia has embraced him,” Donna Kelce, the mom of brothers Jason and Travis Kelce, said in an interview with TODAY.com before Jason announced his retirement. “Jason is a special individual, where, you know, somebody telling him he can’t do it is a fire that drives him.”
Jason Kelce’s retirement.
After the Philadelphia Eagles’ season-ending 32-9 playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Jan. 15, Jason Kelce told his teammates that he has decided to retire, the NFL confirmed.
Younger brother Travis Kelce, a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs who is dating Taylor Swift, is still in Super Bowl contention.
“I just am really, really thrilled that both cities really feel very attached to both Jason and Travis,” Donna Kelce says, reflecting on her sons’ NFL careers. “They’re very much larger-than-life human beings that attract really great people all around them. It’s really fun.”
When Travis and Jason Kelce fought …
Despite the headlines, the viral recipes and of course, pictures with Taylor Swift, Donna Kelce insists: She’s just a mom.
In a wide-ranging interview with TODAY.com, the woman known as “Mama Kelce” talked about what it was like raising two professional athletes who were “a handful” growing up.
Her secret for getting them to settle down and stop fighting back then? Just one word: “Dad!”
“That was it,” she tells TODAY.com. “Once they got to a certain size, I couldn’t do anything.”
The brothers have “always been close,” she says.
“If somebody said something bad about their brother, they would be the first to defend them,” she says.
But they also felt a sense of “sibling rivalry” growing up.
“There just is, you’re constantly fighting in the pecking order, and that’s just the way families are,” she says. “I think a lot of people try to stop that. But some of it’s kind of good because you get to understand how to relate to people.”
They stopped physically fighting when they were in high school.
“Once they were the same height and the same weight, it was done, because it was equal, and they were going to hurt each other,” she says. “There’s always one fight, and it’s the last one.”
Travis Kelce and the Chiefs won their first playoff game on Jan. 13, beating the Miami Dolphins 26-7. The next day, the Eagles were knocked out of the playoffs.