Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce set the single-season receiving yardage record at his position on Sunday, breaking the mark set two years ago by 49ers tight end George Kittle. Kelce also can still become the first tight end to lead the league in receiving yardage.
Asked about his achievements by phone after Sunday’s win over the Falcons, which clinched the No. 1 seed for the Chiefs for the second time in three years, Kelce initially downplayed personal accomplishments.
“I’m kind of caught in the middle of playing football, man,” Kelce said. “Those kind of accolades, the individual accolades are something that you can hang our hat on when it’s all said and done. If you’re lucky enough to be mentioned with guys getting gold jackets, but right now I’m just playing football. I’m more excited about being a part of a 14-1 Kansas City Chiefs team, the best record that the Chiefs have ever had. I’m trying to finish this thing off right and make it the best season that the Chiefs have ever had. Just very fortunate to be in this situation.”
He eventually found an opening to discuss the potential impact of becoming the first tight end to generate more receiving yardage than any other player in league history.
“I think it’s great for the position,” Kelce said. “It’s a position that doesn’t get enough love in every offense. There are so many guys that could be doing a lot more in terms of receiving for their teams that just haven’t gotten the trust or haven’t been able to work that magic with their quarterback. I’m just very thankful to be in this situation.”
Of course, if more teams had players like Kelce — who now has five straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons — they would use the tight end more often. But to the extent that Kelce makes other teams prioritize the position and/or other quarterbacks more willing to throw the ball a tight end’s way, it really is good for tight ends, and for offenses generally.