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Kelce Returning to the OD in June for Eagles Charity Event

Eagles Autism Foundation
Jason Kelce takes a selfie with fans while tending bar at the Ocean Drive in Sea Isle City last summer, part of an event to raise money for the Eagles Autism Foundation.

By Shay Roddy

SEA ISLE CITY – Jason Kelce is coming back.

But don’t get too excited, Eagles fans. The star center will not be returning to the field for a 14th season in Midnight Green. It’s back behind the bar at the Ocean Drive in Sea Isle City where you will find him again this summer.

Kelce, 36, who announced his retirement from professional football in a tear-jerking March press conference, has hosted a fundraiser to benefit the Eagles Autism Foundation at the legendary shore bar the past three years.

The All-Pro offensive linemen, who cemented his legacy as one of the most beloved Philadelphia athletes of all time when he donned a Mummer’s costume while delivering an expletive-laden speech from the iconic steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art during the Eagles Super Bowl parade in 2018, is also a Sea Isle homeowner.

While it may have been a long-known talent to those who have attended his past fundraisers, or who frequent bars in Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore, Kelce demonstrated his drinking prowess on the national stage during this year’s NFL playoffs while supporting his brother, Chiefs tight-end Travis Kelce. He even inspired Travis’ girlfriend, the pop superstar Taylor Swift, to get in on the chugging action during the Super Bowl.

From left, Former Eagle Hugh Douglas, Kansas City Chiefs tight-end Travis Kelce and former Eagles Center Jason Kelce at the 2023 event in Sea Isle City. Photo Credit: Eagles Autism Foundation

Travis Kelce was at the fundraiser at the bar, colloquially known as the OD, the past two years and Swift grew up spending summers in nearby Stone Harbor. If the two of them show this year, all bets are off.

The event will be Wednesday, June 26, at the OD’s Sandbar and at Paddy’s Green, the outdoor space connected to O’Donnell’s Pour House, the OD’s sister property, with a $10 cover charge going directly to charity, according to Kathy Larkin, a spokesperson for the OD.

Tickets for early entry, meet-and-greet photo opportunities and other extras will be on sale through the Eagles Autism Foundation, Larkin said.

An email from the Herald to the Eagles Autism Foundation for more details on the event did not get an immediate response.

Larkin told the Herald they did not get a specific list of players beside Kelce who will attend but said a lot of the current and former players who came last year will return. Those in attendance last year included Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Fletcher Cox, Landon Dickerson, Dallas Goedert, Jake Elliot, Trent Cole, Todd Herremans and Ike Reese.

Kelce, who used to frequent the bar at the OD and eat dinner with his family at the Pour House, grew friendly with the staff and OD general manager Michael Ferry, according to Larkin, who credited Ferry with starting the whole thing. Ferry and Ryan Hammond, executive director of the Eagles Autism Foundation, got together and put an event together four years ago.

“It is really a great thing for the whole town. It’s not just the Autism fund that benefits, because people come into town for this thing. I get phone calls. People have been asking me for months now, ‘When’s the event?’ They want to take their vacation that week. So, it boosts up everything. All the businesses in town benefit from it,” Larkin said in a phone interview.

Jason Kelce celebrates after winning a beer-chugging competition at last year’s event. Photo Credit: Eagles Autism Foundation

Last year’s event raised $375,000 for the Eagles Autism Foundation, according to the team’s website.

And for those unable to make it to Sea Isle to see Kelce, he likely won’t be going far in retirement.

According to Andrew Marchand of The Athletic, Kelce will join ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown,” the popular pregame show for “Monday Night Football,” after the network won a bidding war for his services. Kelce said on a May 1 episode of his “New Heights” podcast, which he hosts with his brother Travis, nothing has been inked yet with the cable network. 

Contact the reporter, Shay Roddy, at sroddy@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 142.

Reporter

Shay Roddy is a Delaware County, Pennsylvania native who has always spent as much of his summers as he could at the Jersey Shore. He went to Friends’ Central and is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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