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Travis Kelce “can’t even imagine” playing in empty stadiums

The Chiefs tight end appeared on ESPN’s “First Take,” where he spoke about how the NFL season might shake out — and comparative Super Bowl parades

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim Rose on Thursday, covering a variety of subjects with the hosts — one of which was how he might be personally affected if NFL games end up being played without fans for some (or all) of the upcoming season. Would the lack of a stadium audience change his emotion for the game?

”I like to think of it as I have passion more than I have emotion for the game — because emotion comes and goes,” he said. “It goes up and down like a roller coaster. Passion sits in the heart; it’s within you.

“I started playing this game in the backyard; I started playing this game in middle school — going to practice without any fans, without any sounds. Nowadays, practice is built up with music — and sometimes coaches put crowd noises in the background to try and simulate a game. But at the same time, I still enjoy playing this game in the backyard — going out and just playing catch, or getting the guys together to go out and play a sandlot game. That’s just who I’ve always been. So I don’t think it will affect me.

“At the same time, it’s going to be very awkward playing in a stadium with nobody in it,” he added. “I can’t even imagine doing that — being in uniform and playing a real game. I can’t even fathom it, really.”

He also spoke about whether he expected the coming season — however it is played — might be more difficult for the Chiefs as defending Super Bowl champions.

”To be honest, last year we knew we were getting everybody’s best shot — being that we do have Patrick Mahomes, the MVP from two years ago and the MVP of the Super Bowl,” he recalled. “The guy has taken the league by storm and can win any football game at any point in time — or however much time is left on the clock.

“Coach Reid does an unbelievable job of setting us up week-in and week-out, knowing that we are going to get [their] best shot — that we are going to get opponent’s best shot — because they feel they have to bring that type of energy, that type of talent and that type of mentality to the game when they play the Kansas City Chiefs.

“So knowing that... yeah, it makes every single game a little bit more intense [and] a little bit more meaningful,” he concluded. “[But] all it really does is build up the accountability throughout the team ([and] the players) to make sure they’re doing what we’ve got to do throughout the week.”

And when reminded that his brother Jason Kelce — center for the Philadelphia Eagles — had said that the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade had been “far better” than the Chiefs’ parade in Kansas City, he rose to the challenge in typical fashion.

”Obviously he’s a little biased,” said Kelce. “But he wasn’t even at the Kansas City parade. So for him to make that assumption is silly! Look at him! He even looks silly!

“Jason’s very confident in what he does,” he added in a more serious tone. “Obviously, what he did on that day was special — and will never be taken away. Even I enjoyed every bit of it. I go back and remininisce on the day — because I was so proud of him — [but] I think it’s silly for him to make that assumption.”

Play the whole interview above — or from YouTube.

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