It is relatively well known among the team’s fans that Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce began his football career as a quarterback at Cleveland Heights High School. He was a three-year letterman at the position, with a combined 2,539 yards from scrimmage as a senior.
Those numbers make plenty of sense when you go to the tape:
Kelce tallied 1,016 yards rushing, 1,523 passing yards and 31 total touchdowns. He went on to play college football at Cincinnati, where he was used as a quarterback in Wildcat formations during his redshirt freshman season before he was transitioned to a full-time tight end.
Kelce had one pass at Cincinnati over the three seasons he played (2009, 2011-12), a 39-yard trick-play touchdown to quarterback Brendon Kay in 2012.
The lone registered pass of Travis Kelce's (No. 18) college career at Cincinnati, a 39-yard touchdown to QB Brendon Kay. pic.twitter.com/pdBDiqgrXy— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 8, 2021
Kelce’s lone collegiate pass provided better results than all three of his NFL passes, which were recently rounded up by the YouTube channel, “TK Twelve.”
Kelce recounted his first career pass attempt (in November of 2017) against the New York Giants in a funny video for The Players’ Tribune back in 2018.
“The quarterback snaps the ball, throws it to me, I catch it, I act like I’m running, I look up, I see the wide receiver running down the field and he’s covered. I just happened to gander across the field to another wide receiver. Little did he know I was going to throw it; I knew I was about to chuck it at this point. It’s just bells going off in my head like it’s dinner time, like ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. Like, I got to get that thing out ...One of the defenders comes running across the field and just ruins all of my dreams. Interception on that play. I feel at this point like an idiot.”
But Chiefs head coach Andy Reid did not give up on Kelce, who had another (failed) opportunity to pass the football with “The Black Pearl” against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Will he ever tap back into that high school quarterback magic? As long as he stays in Kansas City with Reid, that chance always remains.