Travis Kelce continues to make history at the tight end position, adding to his legacy during the Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 1 win over the Cleveland Browns. Kelce finished with six catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns, the second score being the 50th of his career. Kelce scored his 50th touchdown in his 112th career game, becoming the fifth-fastest tight end to reach the milestone.
Kelce has 7,957 yards in his career, the most for a tight end in his first nine seasons in the league — and he still has 16 games to play this year. Kelce is the only tight end to have five 1,000-yard seasons, all coming in consecutive seasons. He’s not just the best tight end in the league, but one of the best players in the game.
In an 1-on-1 interview with CBS Sports, Travis discussed the Chiefs’ emotional Week 1 victory over the Cleveland Browns, his place in NFL history and a potential broadcasting career. It was a light-hearted discussion with one of the league’s best personalities.
Let’s start with Sunday’s win over the Browns. You guys are used to the comebacks at this point. Down 29-20 in the fourth quarter, what do you guys say to each other before you go out on the field?
Kelce: “First of all, you can’t feel down, you can’t feel any sort of way, and you can’t point fingers. Everybody has to man up, be understanding of the situation at hand. If it’s something that I have to fix, that I have to get right, then I take pride in that and I do that for the guys next to me. You have to be accountable in that aspect.
“I think we did a great job of leaning on each other. Nobody pointed fingers, everybody was in the game from start to finish. Everyone played their tail off for the guy next to them. It was a few fundamental things we had to get going, and sure enough we were able to get the ball rolling — get the ball in the end zone was the biggest thing. Scoring touchdowns against that team is huge, especially with the way they were playing on offense.”
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The play you scored the game-winning touchdown: Does Patrick (Mahomes) say, “The ball is coming to you?” Are you the hot read there?
Kelce: “Through a lot of reps — and this is with a lot of guys on this offense — we understand how we want to attack defenses. That’s the coaches being great teachers and leaders of this offense, to be able to make sure we understand the intentions of the play calling.
“In that situation, we ran a play similar to it a few times before and they had trouble relating to it. Me and Pat were just on the same page, knowing that he wanted to get that ball to me as quickly as possible.”
Pat said on the play to Tyreek Hill, he saw his small hands and threw it up. From your vantage point, do you get amazed by anything he does anymore?
Kelce: “(Laughing) He’s fun to watch on film man. You just sit there and chuckle and admire it. He’s so fun to play with. Not only is it fun; it’s exciting, right? You get fired up knowing the play’s never dead. He’s always capable of throwing it anywhere on the field.”
When I found that stat about you and Tyreek Hill beating out Randy Moss and Cris Carter for most receiving yards in a three-year span, I thought it was pretty cool how you and Tyreek reacted on Twitter. When you first saw that, what was your reaction?
Kelce: “It’s just so cool to be a part of it, you know. Obviously, I know we’ve had success on the field, but when you put it in relation to a lot of the greats that we know — it’s humbling, right? It’s a cool feeling to have knowing you’re having success with some of the greatest players that had success in the league. To be in the same sentence as Carter and Moss, that’s pretty cool.
“As you said on Twitter, we both know we don’t do that thing without each other or Patrick Mahomes.”
Have you seen your brother’s (Eagles center Jason Kelce’s) haircut yet — or his new hairdo?
Kelce: “(Laughing) Oh I’ve seen it! I haven’t seen it in person, but I FaceTimed him just to see it in the flesh. He kind of looks like Jack Black from the few movies I’ve seen him in. I think it’s hilarious.
“From what I understand, I guess he lost a bet — he must have lost a bet to Zach Ertz. Knowing Zach dyed his hair earlier in training camp, he is just being a good teammate — as we all know my brother to be.”
I caught you on the Peyton Manning broadcast. I thought your segment was great and it seemed you were really in your element.
Kelce: “They made me feel comfortable, maybe a little too comfortable! It was a lot of fun. Both of them — I believe Eli will be a Hall of Famer as soon as he’s up for it — it’s cool to have a relationship with them knowing how great the Manning brothers really are. But also to be in that brother bond — NFL brothers bubble that we’re both in — because my brother plays in the NFL, too.
“It was cool to be on the broadcast, and I thought it was an awesome switch up — not to take anything away from the Monday night crew because I love watching them and hearing what they have to say about the game. I could definitely admire the situation because listening to Eli and Peyton kind of have that brotherly love, but at the same time say some really good points about the NFL and how they think of things. I thought it was eye-opening.”
Is that something you would think about pursuing when your career ends?
Kelce: “Without a doubt. If I feel as comfortable as I did yesterday and I’m having as much fun as I did on the TV, I think it’s definitely something I can see myself doing.”
Everyone made a big deal about you shaving your beard. Since you had a two-touchdown game in your first game with the light trim, are you going to keep it? Or are you going to grow it out like a playoff beard?
Kelce: “Right now, I’m letting this stay at a nice half, not a one or two, but kind of showing a little bit of the face (laughing). A little bit more of the face than I would have in previous years. I always liked to switch up the look. Sometimes looking at the same thing in the mirror can get old. I try to switch it up and make myself feel like I’m changing or I’m growing or looking better.”
Does having a full beard bother you during a game? I had peach fuzz when I played and had to shave!
Kelce: “In the heat it does. I tell you what, I’ll never go through training camp with a full beard again. It’s tough going through 90 degree heat with a full heat index and having that extra pound of fur on your face. It can get pretty draining!”
Kelce spoke on behalf of Tide, where fans have an opportunity to win an exclusive cold washing machine where he provides the voice of the first talking washing machine. Kelce said he’s pledging to “turn to cold” and stop everyone from using hot water and saving energy — making the planet a better place by using better energy.