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How Travis Kelce played a role in this Chiefs running back returning to Kansas City

Clyde Edwards-Helaire could have ended up with a few other NFL teams following free agency this offseason.

So why did the running back return to the Kansas City Chiefs on a one-year deal?

He said one big reason was his teammates — and especially tight end Travis Kelce.

“Personal level, from football to on a day-to-day basis, he’s someone that’s been in my corner and picked me up from my lowest of lows,” Edwards-Helaire said of Kelce on Monday. “And then when I was on my highest of highs, just being there, trying to put a rocket on my back. So you just have that camaraderie.”

Edwards-Helaire, who turns 25 later this week, has spent the previous four years with the Chiefs after being selected by KC in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

He officially re-signed with KC on Monday after primarily serving as a backup behind starter Isiah Pacheco in 2023. Edwards-Helaire’s best performance in 2023 was a Week 14 road game against the New England Patriots; he had a 48-yard reception and also a separate jump-ball touchdown catch in the end zone on a pass from Patrick Mahomes.

Edwards-Helaire cited the New England game as a pivotal moment personally. At the time, the Chiefs offense was going through some struggles, and the running back’s effort that day helped the team work through those on an eventual Super Bowl run.

Though Edwards-Helaire will only be entering his fifth season, he said he enjoys contributing as a veteran on the team. For instance, he noted an example last year when he helped relay a signal from Mahomes to receiver Skyy Moore before a play, which told Moore which route to run on an eventual touchdown reception.

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Playing a part in team success like that — especially with the Chiefs — was part of what Edwards-Helaire said he wanted to experience again.

It’s been a busy offseason for the running back. He said he’s engaged and is planning a wedding. He’s also kept up with outdoor hobbies, including fishing.

Edwards-Helaire, who grew up in Louisiana, referred to KC on Monday as a “second sportsman paradise for me.” He also said the city now “literally is home,” saying he’s grown the most in these past five years.

“It’s just somewhere that I feel like I became a man,” Edwards-Helaire said.

He’s now secured at least one more year professionally here, slated to be in a similar reserve role with the Chiefs as a season ago.

“I just knew this was the perfect place for me to not only become a three-time Super Bowl champion,” Edwards-Helaire said, “but continue the legacy of the Chiefs and continue the things that I’m doing as a player.”