Kansas City’s longest-serving chef Travis Kelce has become a leader

After the Kansas City Chiefs freed left tackle Eric Fisher, who the team drafted No.1 in the 2013 NFL Draft, in March, Travis Kelce became the Chiefs’ longest-serving player.

Kelce, 32, reflected on this earlier this month.

“With that comes the wisdom of being able to help other guys,” Kelce shared exclusively. “I really take a lot of heart and ownership of this. “

Kelce has remained a team manager during what has been a difficult season, one that could only be considered a “slack year” when compared to his high and unprecedented standards.

He has 1,066 receiving yards this season, marking his sixth straight 1,000-yard season. No close end in NFL history has recorded more than three straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Kelce extended this historic streak while facing constant attention. If not in doubles, the defenses have generally used excessive ploys that Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has dubbed “halo cover.”

And opposing teams used aggressive cover, hitting and pulling him on the line of scrimmage – and possibly beyond.

“They tend to get their hands on him,” said Reid, “and grab him until they’re called three times.”

Kelce handled such a physical game in a way that demonstrates his maturity.

“He’s been good,” said Reid. “When he was younger he was very upset about it.”

Reid, who previously coached Kelce’s older brother in Philadelphia, used to call Travis a “wild pony.”

In 2016, the tight end criticized Reid’s appeal after a loss to the Tennessee Titans. That same year, he threw a towel at an official after a no-appeal against the Jacksonville Jaguars. After ending a playoff loss this season, he said a referee officiating this game “shouldn’t even be able to work at (expletive) Foot Locker.

. “

Fast forward half a decade, and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is now putting together an instruction tape, showing Kelce’s advice to young players.

After Patrick Mahomes threw a fourth-quarter interception that gave the Los Angeles Chargers the ball inside the Chiefs’ 10-yard line in Thursday night’s soccer game, Kelce told him, “Get back there. -low. We believe in you. “

Kelce has been Mahomes’ teammate for five years and in the same attacking pattern for four years previously. As a tight end, he is involved in blocking patterns on the line of scrimmage and running routes while being lined up on the outside. So he can offer pointers to anyone, from the offensive lineman to the wide receiver.

“He’s always been a leader,” said wide receiver Mecole Hardman, who is in his third year in the NFL. “Everyone in the locker room is looking at him. He does things well on and off the pitch.

Off the pitch, Kelce has teamed up with Operation Breakthrough to buy an old muffler store on Troost Avenue and turn it into a workspace where underprivileged teens can learn science, technology, engineering, and math.

During his nearly decade in the City of Fountains, he made his mark in the Kansas City community.

“I say that to all the guys who come into the building,” Kelce said. “” If you need anything in town, let me know. I have met someone over the past nine years who can help you.

Kelce had the best year of his nine-year career last season, recording personal bests in catches (105), yards (1,416) and touchdowns (11).

The yardstick even surpassed the NFL record with a tight end set by his friend, George Kittle. The San Francisco 49er is the only tight end in the NFL with a contract that exceeds Kelce’s $ 14.3 million average.

But by 2021, some had suggested that the second highest-paid close-segment had lost a step. There had been some unusual drops, and he had two straight games with just three catches for 27 yards in weeks 13 and 14.

Then it erupted in a major way in Week 15, registering a career-high 191 yards against, including the 34-yard touchdown when he passed half the Chargers’ defense in the 34-28 win. .

“Instead of 32,” Kelce said, “I felt 22.”

After this play, Mahomes told Kelce he loved her.

“You would think he’s old, so he can’t be run by people, but he’s still run by people,” Mahomes said. “It was just a special moment.”

But right after Kelce had his best game, he faced more adversity. He tested positive for Covid-19, causing him to miss Week 16 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“It crushed him,” Mahomes said, “not being able to play with us.”

But Kelce, who is now back with the squad and in training, has remained a strong presence with the Chiefs, even through the ups and downs.

“Travis continues to grow,” said Reid. “He kind of got through the tough times… but kept leading.”

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