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Travis Kelce’s love for the game runs deep as he enters another training camp

Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce answered questions from the media after the Chiefs first day of training camp.

Kansas City Chiefs Offseason Workout Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

It’s been quite an eventful offseason for Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. In the span of about five months, the Kansas City superstar has done it all from a Super Bowl parade and a trip to the White House to hosting “Saturday Night Live” and throwing several ceremonial first pitches (one done more gracefully than the other).

However, with the Chiefs beginning mandatory training camp this week, Kelce returned to doing what he loves the most: playing football.

“I just love the game,” Kelce told reporters during his OTAs media session on Tuesday. “I think that keeps me living like a young, fun-loving football player. I get to play a game for a living at the age of 33, 34 — and I don’t want to lose that. I don’t want to lose that excitement that I had for the game when I was a kid. Every single day I get to come in with the best team, best players, (and) best coaches in the world so it makes it easy to just come in here and just enjoy it.”

As the pure love of the game continues to burn strongly for him, Kelce approaches this training camp with the mindset of a well-seasoned veteran. He is focusing his attention on refining the fine components of his game while also making sure his body is physically ready for the rigors of another season.

“I would say just focusing on a lot of the smaller things, the details of things.” Kelce said when asked if he trains any differently. “Just try to make sure that everything as an athlete in terms of muscles and explosion and things like that, that everything’s firing so I don’t go out there and tweak my back like I did last week.”

NFL: AUG 07 Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kelce’s comments highlight just how far the two-time Super Bowl champion has come as he enters his 11th season in the NFL. His poise and confidence during training camp are obvious now, but it wasn’t always that way.

During the presser, Kelce recounted his first training camp with the Chiefs back in 2013, specifically mentioning how surprised he was by the presence of the crowd as he made the jump from college to the pros.

“That first training camp, you don’t realize how many people are going to be out there,” Kelce recalled. ”It felt like it was a game, you know? It was the excitement of people watching practice and stuff – I’m not used to that coming out of the University of Cincinnati. Our training camp was in Higher Ground [Conference & Retreat Center] in the middle of Indiana, so we didn’t really have anybody at practice.

“It was kind of the dog days and just the fellas that were on the team. Then, sure enough, I come to KC and it’s a packed house, everybody out there (in) St. Joseph screaming, yelling (and) getting fired up during stretch. I’m just like, ‘Man this is a little different.’”

From that rookie moment to the present day, the 33-year-old Kelce stands as one of the elder statesmen of the team. While he ensured everyone that retirement is not happening anytime soon, Kelce still makes use of his vast experience by cultivating the team’s future at tight end — a role he says he genuinely enjoys in this chapter of his career.

“I love it,” Kelce exclaimed as he began to wax poetically about tight ends. “We got the best tight end room in the league right now and it’s fun to be a part of just the grand scheme of things in terms of this offense and what it can do.

“But coming to work and being around this tight end group, man, we got a fun group that just loves to play this game and wants to make plays no matter how they got to do it. Whether we’re blocking, whether we’re catching the ball down field or just finding a way to get somebody else open. And that’s the beauty of the tight end position is we’re pretty selfless and whatever you need we can do. The young guys, the guys that are kind of like still getting molded into this offense that you’ll see this year – any bit of advice I can give to anybody - and that’s kind of across the league - I’ll give nuggets of gold over here at Tight End U coming up next week or what I think are nuggets of gold (laughter).“

Up-and-coming players would be smart to heed Kelce’s advice, especially since it’s coming from the player who smashed every relevant record for the position en route to becoming one of the most dominating forces in NFL history.

“I’m here to try to get everybody to be at their best,” Kelce said. “I still got that confidence that what we do over here is always going to be number one.”

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