It has been a unique season for Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Battling through an injury suffered days before Week 1, the 34-year-old tight end didn’t look like himself at times. On top of that, his personal life has grabbed the public’s attention and spurned rumors of Kelce looking forward to his post-football career.
Then, the Chiefs entered the postseason and leaned on Kelce to rack up 262 yards and three touchdowns over three victories. The team is in Super Bowl LVIII, thanks in large part to the future Hall of Fame tight end, who hasn’t looked like a player on the verge of retirement in these playoffs.
During Opening Night on Monday, Kelce didn’t sound like a player in that phase of his career, either.
“I love coming into the building and playing this game more than anything,” Kelce told NFL Network’s 11-year old reporter Jeremiah Fennell. “I know I’m going to miss it when it’s over with, so I can’t put a time stamp on it, but I’m going to enjoy every single bit of it.”
The talk may have been sparked by the emotions of Jason Kelce — Travis’ brother — after the Philadelphia Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs this year. The speculation began then, but it ballooned when Jason attended the Chiefs’ Divisional round game against the Buffalo Bills.
Jason Kelce shirtless in Buffalo— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 22, 2024
( : CBS) pic.twitter.com/BxbYSVotVN
Some took the older Kelce’s loose, carefree attitude as a sign that he is leaning towards ending his professional football career, but Travis set the record straight on Monday.
“That’s a question for Jason,” Kelce responded when asked about it. “I was every bit as surprised after that Buffalo game as everyone else was when the camera panned to him. It’s just who he is. He enjoys the game of football. The desire and the love we have for this game since we were kids, it oozes out of us, we can’t help that. Sure enough, with an unbelievable fan base like Buffalo, it was a fun experience. I don’t know if the Vegas crowd is going to make him want to take his shirt off.”
No one can deny Kelce’s passion for this sport, but they say Father Time is undefeated. Jason is 36 years old and has played 13 NFL seasons; the end is nearing one way or another.
Travis has 10 years of playing under his belt, many of those years going deep into the postseason. The wear and tear is a factor in why he gets asked about retirement, and it’s why he understands he has to monitor it as well.
“I’m always thinking about what’s next,” Kelce admitted. “That’s always a question you get when you’re later in your career and you start to fall off, so thanks for telling me that I’m not as good as I once was.”
“It’s something that you have to think about. I come into this building and these arenas, I come in and work my tail off with these guys. I have so much love for this game, I can’t imagine not doing this for as long as I can, because I know I’ll miss it when it’s all said and done. I can’t put a time stamp on how long I’ll play, but I know I’m loving every single bit of coming into work right now.”
The Chiefs have Kelce under contract for two more seasons. If he fulfills that deal, he will be 36 years old in his final season, the same age as his brother currently. Jason’s retirement is fair to speculate on at this point, but Travis doesn’t sound like a man wanting to quit football this year.