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As a team leader, Chiefs’ Travis Kelce always wants to learn from his mistakes

Kansas City’s star tight end continues his quest for perfection as he prepares for Sunday’s Tampa Bay game.

Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs have had all week to think about their disappointing loss to the Indianapolis Colts. But the team’s veterans — like All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce — know not to let this feeling linger on too long.

Several times during Sunday’s 20-17 loss, the offense failed to score while deep within Indianapolis territory. Kelce himself had an uncharacteristic drop that would have gone for a touchdown — but instead bounced off his hands. Kelce was among the first to accept responsibility for the loss, using social media to express dismay about his performance immediately following the game.

“I was disappointed in myself,” the tight end told reporters on Friday. “I’m sure you could sense that from the tweets. I put a lot into how much I care about what I put out there on the field. I think about this thing 24/7, 365. So, it’s just [that] I put a lot of pride [in] myself to be able to make those plays — and sure enough, I got confidence I’ll make the next one.”

After exhibiting leadership to his teammates by being accountable for his mistakes, Kelce then demonstrated how to channel his disappointment into self-improvement and future success.

“It’s in the past now,” Kelce explained. “You learn from it, you know what you got to clean up and you just approach this week like we have — with the attention to detail, the focus, the effort, showing guys around you that it matters to you — and that we’re going to get this thing fixed. And sure enough, that’s what we did.”

As an ultimate competitor, Kelce said he always wants to get better — so that on the field, he can be the best version of himself.

“Every single film session I go into, I think of, ‘What did I do wrong?’ — whether we win or lose,” Kelce said of the process. “I got to keep fixing — and raising the ceiling for me personally — so I can be accountable for everybody else.”

But despite being his own harshest critic, Kelce is still having a productive season, ranking second among tight ends in total yards (230) and total touchdowns (2) through the first three weeks.

In the bigger picture, Kelce’s production reveals a lot about how Kansas City is utilizing its tight ends — especially in short-yardage situations. So far, Kelce, Jody Fortson and Noah Gray have been targeted 33 times and have combined for three touchdowns, which is second only to the Baltimore Ravens‘ tight ends. Kelce likes what he sees from the team’s other two tight ends — and is excited for their potential.

NFL: AUG 20 Preseason - Chiefs at Cardinals Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“We got a really athletic group, physical group,” Kelce said. “And the two young guys — I can’t really call them ‘young’ because they play like vets — they understand the game, they understand the offense and they understand the intentions of the play caller and what Pat likes.

“It’s a fun group to be a part of. Jody and Noah have been progressing so much since they’ve been here. I get excited when I see those guys have success out there on the field. And anytime we can go [with] three tight end sets, I think we got the advantage.”

This is important because the Chiefs will need all the production they can get from their offense as they tackle yet another tough defensive matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Although the two teams are drastically different than when they played during 2020’s Super Bowl LV, the Chiefs are certainly hoping that the offense — led by veteran leaders like Kelce — will come up big in their revenge game.

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