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Travis & Jason Kelce’s ‘New Heights’ Ep. 35: the Shannon Sharpe episode

This week, ‘Uncle Shay Shay’ visited the Heights studio.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and his older brother — Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce — host a weekly podcast called “New Heights.” The title is an homage to the Cleveland Heights, Ohio neighborhood in which they grew up.

This week, the Kelce brothers dropped Episode 35, in which they interviewed Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, discussing how Sharpe has mentored Travis throughout his career.

“New Heights” with Jason & Travis Kelce | Jukes Original Presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment | You can also listen to the show on Spotify.

1. Sharpe has offered Travis advice throughout his career

Travis revealed that throughout his career, Sharpe has mentored him.

“I’ve always told everybody how appreciative I am that you reach out,” Travis told his guest. “In the good games and the bad games, you don’t let it slide at all. I’ve been so blessed to have somebody like you in my back pocket — or in my ear — just letting me know from a Hall of Famer’s point of view of what I need to be doing.”

Sharpe replied that to Travis’ credit, he has always been open to feedback — and has taken Sharpe’s advice to heart.

“I say, ‘Brah, this is what I see. I see some things that you’re a little of this, a little of that. I think if you do it this way you will have a little success,’” said Sharpe of their regular conversations. “He’s one of the few that will take the information — and not feel like I’m a know-it-all... He’s like, ‘Unc, I appreciate that.’”

Sharpe credited Travis for developing his mental game and always staying locked in. He specifically mentioned the famous 13-second drive in the 2021 AFC Divisional round game against the Buffalo Bills. Sharpe pointed out that at that moment — when it seemed like all hope was lost — Travis was still locked in on analyzing the defense.

Sharpe said this is the kind of thing that will be a key to Travis’ longevity in the league.

“Technique will keep you in the league a lot longer than your athletic ability,” said Sharpe, who played for 14 seasons. “Because as you start to age, your athleticism will start to wane. And it’s the guy who is more fundamentally sound.

“The reason why Tom Brady could play 23 years is because he didn’t rely on athleticism. The reason why Peyton Manning could play at a high level for such a long time? He didn’t rely on athleticism. You notice guys that rely on athleticism never have very long careers? Because once that athleticism wanes, now what?”

2. Travis is on Sharpe’s Mount Rushmore of tight ends

As the Kelces often do with their guests, they asked Sharpe to name the players they would place on the Mount Rushmore at their position. Surprisingly, Sharpe left himself off his list. He started with Travis, Rob Gronkowski and Kellen Winslow Sr.

“I don’t think this guy gets enough love,” he continued, “but I’m going to give him his flowers. He came in a little after me: Antonio Gates. [He] kind of reminds me of myself because he did a lot of changing speeds. It was slower and slower, but it was changing speeds.”

Interestingly, former Chiefs tight end (and fellow Hall of Famer) Tony Gonzalez was omitted from Sharpe’s list. Was skipping the all-time leader in tight-end receiving yards an oversight, or was it a purposeful slight toward an old opponent?

3. The advice Sharpe would give to his younger self

Sharpe began his answer with what seemed like an often-repeated joke.

“Sure would have wished my mom would have waited 10 years,” he laughed — referring to the idea that if he had begin his career in the pass-happy 2000s, his career stats would be a lot fatter.

But then Sharpe spoke more candidly.

“Honestly, guys, from the time that I made it, everything was about football,” he recalled. “I ate, I slept, I breathed, I talked football.

“I think I was terrible at a lot of things — except football. I was terrible at being a brother, terrible at being a son, terrible at being a father, terrible at being a boyfriend.

“I was terrible at all of those, but I was a damn good football player. [So] probably, I wish I could — if I could tell my rookie self — [to think about] the way you judge success, because everything I look at now is judged by success.

“So I would say, ‘Shannon, everything that you’ve accomplished doesn’t mean anything because you don’t have anyone to share it with.’

“If I could do it over again, I would find that one person — and that’s what I would do.”

And then he nodded toward Travis.

“Hint, hint,” he said.

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