Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce made his first public appearance since the team’s Super Bowl LV loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday morning when he spent some time on “The Pat McAfee Show.”
McAfee asked the 31-year-old tight end about his experience of being in the locker room after the team was blown out 31-9 on the big stage.
“I say it like this: ‘You ever just wake up on Sunday and got your ass beat by a bunch of guys you never thought you’d get your ass beat by?’” said Kelce. “That’s exactly what just happened. I mean — we never thought that was going to happen. I don’t think the score of that game is true to who we are and where we rank in terms of being a great team and being as good as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was just kind of the situation is what it is, and we have to live with that, we have to try and get better because of it. That’s all we can take from it.
“Right now is it is what it is... in my mind, hopefully, we’re there next year and Tampa Bay’s there next year so that we can go ahead and go after it again. That’s all that’s really ingrained in my heart right now — work your tail off, and get back there next year because what we just put on display, I don’t think that’s our best effort.”
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes did all he could in the game, including a miraculous fourth-and-9 sidearm arm throw that nearly went for a touchdown.
"If anybody is motivated 1-5 is more motivated than anybody in the world to get back out there & try and get another Super Bowl"@tkelce on @PatrickMahomes #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/PS42QXP7RL— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) March 15, 2021
“Every time he puts the helmet on, it’s just who he is — it’s ingrained in him to compete, to put everything out there on the line, every single time,” said Kelce. “Pat’s a special guy in terms of that, man, and you know what? It doesn’t sit right that we all went out there and had a game that wasn’t our best game, and I know if anybody’s motivated, 1-5 is more motivated than anybody in the world to get back out there and try and get another Super Bowl and get to another Super Bowl — the third one in a row, man.”
McAfee noticed that Kelce threw his body to block a bit more throughout the 2020 campaign, something the tight end revealed was quite intentional.
"Because of how good George Kittle & a guy like Gronk are at blocking..— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) March 15, 2021
It's been whatever.. I've taken some heat for being a bad blocker. It's on me to show everybody that I want to do that for my teammates"@tkelce loves the criticism #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/uQcAzr9E7g
“I took it upon myself and I think it’s going to keep getting better as the course of my career goes on. It’s me as a football player, as a person, man. I feel like there’s always room for improvement. And you know? Because of how good George Kittle and a guy like [Rob Gronkowski] — because of how good they are as blockers, I think it’s been whatever — I’ve taken some heat for being a bad blocker. And it’s on me to show everybody that I want to do that for my teammates, that I can be that for my teammates.”
Kelce admitted he had heard the chatter that he is not a good blocker over the years and wanted to do something about it.
“Yes — without a doubt,” he said when McAfee asked point-blank if he had caught the critique. “And honestly, I love criticism because it helps me become a better player. It gets me to understand what I have to do to become better, and I don’t know, I take pride in being an all-around football player.”
Finally, Kelce commented on the recent releases of offensive linemen Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher.
“Schwartz, Fisher — I love those guys to death,” said Kelce. “It ripped my heart out to see those guys go. I don’t even know what it means to be an NFL player and not be Eric Fisher’s teammate. We came in the same year, got drafted the same year — the first year that coach Reid stepped his big foot in the building. I think it’s definitely something I cherish, being here all eight years, and for me the be the Last Mohican — the last one standing of the original cast — it’s definitely something prideful, but I’m going to miss the hell out of Fisher, Schwartz and even Anthony Sherman... We’re going to miss some guys, that’s for dang ol’ sure, but football is going to be played, so we just got to go out there and fire up.”
Watch the full interview (around the 20-minute mark) on “The Pat McAfee Show” YouTube channel.