Travis Kelce rejects retirement talk, focuses on third ring

League: NFL

Posted on: 06 Feb, 2024 at 03:56 AM

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LAS VEGAS -- Travis Kelce doesn't appear to be slowing down at age 34, and the Kansas City Chiefs' star tight end has no plans to quit playing the game anytime soon.

With Kelce's brother, 36-year-old center Jason Kelce, pondering retirement from the Philadelphia Eagles, the rumor mill has swirled around Travis' future, too.

Travis Kelce made it clear during Monday's Super Bowl Opening Night that Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers will not be his final game.

"I love coming into the building and playing this game more than anybody and I know I'm going to miss it when it's over with," Travis Kelce said. "I can't put a timestamp on it, but I know I'm going to enjoy every single bit of this one."

Besides, Kelce has a lot of accomplishments to add to his impressive postseason legacy.

He became the all-time leader in playoff receptions during the Chiefs' AFC Championship Game victory over the Baltimore Ravens last month. His 11 catches raised his output to 156, five more than San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice amassed.

Kelce ranks second in postseason receiving yardage (1,810) and touchdown catches (19). Rice is the leader in both those categories with 2,245 and 22, respectively.

"When the lights are brighter, he plays better," Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes said of Kelce. "There's comfort in just having another leader out there who shows the guys that's how to get it done."

Kelce, a nine-time Pro Bowl pick, is viewed as one of the NFL's all-time great tight ends. He is on a list that includes names from different eras such as John Mackey, Kellen Winslow, Shannon Sharpe, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski.

However, he is more obsessed about winning a third Super Bowl ring. Kelce won one against the 49ers to conclude the 2019 season and another last year against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Yet he says the one he didn't win still hurts.

"I've been on a mission ever since I won my first Super Bowl," Kelce said. "We made it back to the Super Bowl (to end the 2020 season) and we lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's motivated me to get back to this point right here.

"You'll hear me say this a lot -- I want this one more than I've ever wanted a Super Bowl before in my life. And it's because of the type of team we have. But also because of that tier of team because the teams that have done it (three times) have gone down in history as some of the greats."

Kelce caught touchdown passes in the Super Bowl wins over the Chiefs and Eagles. He had 10 catches for 133 yards in the loss to the Buccaneers.

San Francisco is expected to have Fred Warner, considered one of the elite coverage linebackers in the game, defend Kelce the bulk of the time. Warner intercepted a Mahomes pass in Super Bowl LIV.

Of course, Kelce was bombarded with questions Monday night about his romance with singer Taylor Swift.

Swift has concerts scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday in Tokyo so she won't be part of Super Bowl week hype. She is expected to return from Japan in time to attend the Sunday night game.

Kelce maintained that the relationship with Swift doesn't prompt increased expectations.

"You can't put any more pressure on me than I put on myself, I can promise you that," Kelce said. "The heart of a competitor.

"She's definitely brought a lot of new faces to the game and it's been fun to experience that."

--Field Level Media