Jason Kelce

The incredible reason why Kelce's ankles were taped for retirement speech

Jason Kelce's ankles were taped for his retirement speech on Monday for an incredible reason.

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It was already an incredible moment and we didn’t even know the full story.

Jason Kelce retired on Monday and said goodbye with a 41-minute eloquent speech through tears as he walked away from the NFL after 13 seasons.

That alone was a heck of a story.

But Eagles associate athletic trainer Joe O’Pella added to it the following day when he explained the reason why Kelce’s ankles were taped for a press conference.

O’Pella has been battling cancer and wasn’t able to be the guy to tape Kelce’s ankles for Kelce’s last game in the NFL. So the Eagles legend had O’Pella tape him up one last time on Monday afternoon.

(NBC Sports Philadelphia)

As Kelce walked out of the NovaCare Auditorium and into the cafeteria where a ton of Eagles employees had gathered, you can see that his ankles are taped inside his flip-flops.

“He’s been there my entire career too, Joe O’Pella,” Kelce said on the latest episode of the New Heights podcast. “Thankfully, he’s in remission, they don’t have any signs of it. They’re still going to do an operation, I think, to make sure. But he’s looking good. But he wasn’t able to tape me for any of the game this year. He’s taped my ankles my whole career. So he taped my ankles for the press conference one last time. So I had ankle tape on with sandals.”

During his 41-minute speech, Kelce explained the beauty of an NFL locker room, how people from all walks of life come together for a common goal. That extends past players, who become extremely close with other staff members like O’Pella.

O’Pella began with the Eagles as a seasonal athletic training intern from 2008-09 and was an athletic training assistant from 2010-11. He spent six season as an assistant athletic trainer before being promoted to associate athletic trainer in 2018.

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