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JJ Watt on Why Jason Kelce Has a 'Tough' Retirement Decision: 'It's Very Hard to Walk Away' (Exclusive)

Watt retired from football in 2022 after 12 seasons as a defensive end in the NFL

<p>Santiago Felipe/Getty, Perry Knotts/Getty </p> JJ Watt, Jason Kelce

JJ Watt knows how Jason Kelce is feeling as the Philadelphia Eagles center contemplates his retirement from the NFL.

Watt, 34, retired from the league in 2022, and now the former NFL star tells PEOPLE that Kelce, 36, has "a very tough decision to make" before the start of the next season.

The former defensive end explains, "It's been the only life that you've known for so long. Most of us started playing football in fifth grade. So, literally, the majority of your life has been spent playing football."

After so many years, the demanding NFL schedule becomes the norm for players, says Watt. "August, you go to training camp, and September, October, and November, you're playing football and trying to figure out if you're ready to walk away from that, and what your life will look like beyond that is very, very difficult."

Watt adds, "I know exactly how it feels in the relationships, with the camaraderie in the locker room. There's nothing else like it. So it's very hard to walk away from all that."

Related: Jason Kelce Is So Loved in Philly He 'Could Run for Mayor and Win,' Says Source (Exclusive)

<p>Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty</p> Jason Kelce

Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Jason Kelce

Still, Kelce has had "an unbelievable career," says Watt, "And if he chooses to walk away from that, he's done everything there is to do."

"He's a hall of fame player and he seems to have an incredible family. He's going to have a whole lot of fun making brand new memories. And also, it seems like, drinking a whole lot of beer and taking his shirt off at his brother's games," says Watt, poking fun at the elder Kelce brother's shirtless antics while watching his brother, Travis Kelce, and the Chiefs defeat the Buffalo Bills.

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Since his own retirement, Watt says he's eased up a bit on his rigorous exercise routine.

"I'm used to working out every single day of my entire life, and so I still I still work out quite a bit, but I've I found that it is actually easier to wake up and just say, 'I don't feel like working out today' than I thought it would be after having done it for my whole life," he shares with PEOPLE.

Stacy Revere/Getty JJ Watt
Stacy Revere/Getty JJ Watt

Related: Jason Kelce Cries Talking About Whether He Should Retire in New Doc: ‘Tearing My Body Apart’

Watt says it was "very, very nice" to realize he's able to skip workouts if he pleases. "Like yesterday," Watt recalls, "it was just a rainy, dreary day, and I was like, I don't feel like working out today, and since I'm retired, I can do that. So I just hung out. It was beautiful."

On Tuesday, Kelce shared an update on his status in the NFL.

"I don’t know what’s going to happen for me, but I do know I still want to be involved in the organization and still want to be a part of it — regardless of what the decision is,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Because I don’t want to ever feel like I’m on the outside looking in on these achievements and these accolades and these opportunities that largely represent entire cities and fan bases and organizations.”

He added, “It’s too good a feeling to pass up.”

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Read the original article on People.