Donna Kelce, Jason’s mother, discussed his profession before his retirement.

Before her son Jason Kelce informed his teammates that he was retiring from football, Donna Kelce reflected on what made the Philadelphia Eagles center so special.

She focused not on his potential Hall of Fame status, but on the passion, he gave to the game and how much his team’s city adores him.

“It’s exciting to see how Philadelphia has embraced him,” Donna Kelce, the mother of brothers Jason and Travis Kelce, told TODAY.com just 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 January 15, Jason Kelce informed his teammates that he had decided to retire, the NFL confirmed.

Travis Kelce, his younger brother and a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs who is dating Taylor Swift, is still a Super Bowl contender.

Donna Kelce, Jason’s mother, discussed his profession before his retirement.

“I am just really, really thrilled that both cities feel very attached to both Jason and Travis,” Donna Kelce says of her sons’ NFL careers. “They’re larger-than-life individuals that attract a lot of fantastic people around them. “It’s really fun.”

Travis and Jason Kelce clashed…

Despite the headlines, viral recipes, and, of course, Taylor Swift photos, Donna Kelce says that she is simply a mother.

In a wide-ranging interview with TODAY.com, the woman known as “Mama Kelce” discussed her experiences parenting two professional athletes who were “a handful” as children.

What was her secret for getting them to quit fighting back then? Only one word: “Dad!”

“That was it,” she told TODAY.com. “Once they got to a certain size, I couldn’t do anything.” The brothers have “always been close,” she claims.

“If somebody said something bad about their brother, they would be the first to defend them,” she stated. They did, however, experience “sibling rivalry” while growing up.

“There just is, you’re constantly fighting in the pecking order, and that’s just the way families are,” she said. “I believe many individuals strive to stop that. But part of it is beneficial because it helps you understand how to interact with others. They stopped physically fighting 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 said. “There’s always one fight, and it’s the last one.”
Travis Kelce and the Chiefs won their first playoff game on January 13, defeating the Miami Dolphins 26-7. The next day, the Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs. Donna Kelce attended both games.

Tailgating, Taylor Swift and the paparazzi

Donna Kelce is teaming up with Heluva Good! dips to create a big game countdown calendar featuring seven days of dishes, one of which is her own. She believes that the food is the key to a good tailgate.

Partnerships like this one are just one example of how the well-known NFL mom has directly communicated with fans.

“Everybody that’s come up to me has been very gracious, very supportive, and they tell me that they love my boys,” she said. “What mom doesn’t want to hear that?”
Her sons began playing sports when they were three years old, starting with soccer. By this time, she claims she does not get worried before their games.

Donna Kelce, Jason’s mother, discussed his profession before his retirement.

“It’s simply second nature. This is only a part of their lives. I enjoy it. “I have fun,” she says. “There is no ritual, truly. I’m not really superstitious.

She does have a constant game-day routine.

“I like to let them know that I’ll be watching and wish them good luck,” she said.

Even thinking back on their first playoff games, Jason’s in 2013 and Travis’ in 2016, she recalls being more “surprised.”

“When they were growing up, they were on teams in high school that weren’t really winning teams, so it was very exciting,” she said.

She described the year 2023, which began with their Super Bowl runs and finished with her son Travis’s relationship with Taylor Swift, as a “great ride.”

Donna Kelce appears to enjoy partying with celebs, as seen by her and Swift’s viral video showing herself rocking out to a stadium-wide swag surf during the Chiefs-Dolphins playoff game on January 13.

Swift’s presence at games frequently draws attention to her, as well as Donna Kelce, due to their proximity.

“It’s kind of funny that they’re following an old lady,” she says with a laugh. “But it’s obviously because of my boys and who they know, so I totally understand the glamour about it, but I’m just a regular mom like everybody else.”
She claims she has met a lot of “characters” through her boys’ famous football buddies.

“Big personalities — very much a love of life, very animated, lots of great stories because of who they’ve met and the individuals that they’ve been around,” she said. “There are always stories that are both heartbreaking and hilarious.

“So that’s been my greatest gift, is to be able to share that with them, with some of their players,” she said.

That friendship extends to her fellow NFL mothers.

“They’re just amazing human beings,” she continues. “I know what they’ve had to go through, and there’s kind of a kinship that we have with each other, if you do get to meet them.”

It’s a natural bond formed through shared sacrifice.

Donna Kelce, Jason’s mother, discussed his profession before his retirement.

“We all know how hard we were working when they were younger and trying to make ends meet, because it’s expensive,” she said.

When asked how much time she’s spent either preparing for or at her sons’ games, Donna Kelce says it’s incalculable.

“I can’t even think about it, there were very few days that we weren’t doing something,” she says. “So I don’t know — 30 years times at least one or two hours a day.”

Donna Kelce worked in banking while her sons were growing up.

“I wish I could say that I was a mom that painstakingly made snacks and brought them, but I didn’t,” she says. “I bought them all.”

“They were the marshmallow treats, they were gummies, they were this, they were that — whatever I could give them a little bit more energy, and then we’d go out and eat a huge meal afterwards.”

When they went to college, she says it felt like she “got a raise” due to how much her grocery bill shrank.

“It’s just constant grazing. You fix a huge meal … and they would be hungry an hour later,” she says.

Donna Kelce’s ‘grandma name’

The relationship between the NFL moms doesn’t compare to the bonds between the mothers of college football players, she says — “you’re with the same kids for five years,” she says.

“In the NFL, it’s a little different because the boys end up with girlfriends and wives and so the moms are kind of not in it that much,” she says.

Travis Kelce is notably dating Taylor Swift, and Jason Kelce is married to Kylie Kelce, with three daughters.

She’s previously joked that Jason is her “favorite” child for a simple reason — he gave her grandchildren.

Jason and Kylie Kelce share three daughters, Wyatt, Elliotte and Bennett — the youngest of whom was born less than two weeks after the 2023 Super Bowl.

Donna Kelce, Jason’s mother, discussed his profession before his retirement.

Donna Kelce says her grandma’s name is “DeeDee.”

“That’s the first initial to my name, and it’s usually the first consonant that they can say,” she says.

As for her grandparent style, she says she’s not a “typical” grandmother in that she’s not “around 24/7.”

“I’m more of a fly-in, have a great time and then fly back out,” she says, “which I’m sure is much to the chagrin of my son and his wife.”

She adds that she loves spending time with the three girls.

“It’s wonderful to be able to see life through the eyes of a child,” she says.

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