Travis Kelce shrugs off retirement talk ahead of playoff run

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce is thinking about retirement, but that doesn’t mean it’s coming soon.

“Do you guys think about retiring? Am I the only one in this boat? Is anybody else in this thing,” Kelce joked with reporters Thursday.

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The 34-year-old future Hall of Famer hinted at retirement this past summer in a profile with Vanity Fair.

In one of his few press conferences with local media ahead of the Chiefs’ Wild Card playoff game vs. the Miami Dolphins, Kelce admitted he’s thinking about stepping away from the game of football — but not just yet.

“I have no reason to stop playing football, man. I love it,” he said. “We still have success. Come in with the right mindset, and I just love the challenge that it gives me every single day to try and be at my best. And like I said, I have no desire to stop anytime soon.”

Kelce’s past offseason was filled with all of the spoils of a Super Bowl champion: a parade, several profile pieces, commercials galore and multiple guest appearances on Saturday Night Live.

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All of this while he and his brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, have seen their “New Heights” podcast soar to the top of the charts with millions of views and downloads for each episode.

Plus his popularity has soared across the globe amid his relationship with popstar Taylor Swift.

Kelce’s legacy has mostly already been written with two Super Bowl rings, a lot of records and milestones achieved and seven-straight 1,000-yard seasons.

He could have made it eight-straight against the Los Angeles Chargers this past Sunday but decided to sit out the game because he “didn’t care enough about it.”

“I felt like I could get some rest and let the guys go out there and just play the game, instead of worrying about getting this old guy 16 yards, man. It just never felt right,” Kelce said.

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Instead, Kelce’s personal legacy is focused on Super Bowls and being a good teammate.

“I think, without a doubt, I’m thinking more Super Bowls when I talk legacy and just having that desire to be a certain type of teammate day in and day out and having to channel in that right mindset for sure,” he said.

The retirement question also comes as the Chiefs prepare for a playoff run as a 3-seed in the AFC, the lowest seed that they’ve been in the playoffs with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback.

The Chiefs also still lack the offensive firepower that they’ve boasted in the past, sitting at 15th in the NFL at around 22 points per game.

Kelce sat out the season opener against the Detroit Lions with a hyper-extended knee and also sustained an ankle injury against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5, though he didn’t miss any games from it.

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All of this adds up to one of the most challenging years for Kelce while his star rises while dating Swift.

But he loves the challenge that this season brings.

“It’s a new challenge to, you know, find ways to get open. It’s a new challenge to find ways to get wins,” Kelce said.

“I think I went up to (Chiefs defensive end Charles) Omenihu who, after one game or during one game, and said, ‘Man, we just got to become a team that just grinds these games out, man.’

“It’s not the same NFL as it was for us a few years ago. And for whatever reason, you know, when it comes down to third, fourth quarter, we just got to be able to grind it out as a team. And I think I think everybody understands that.”

As Kelce and the Chiefs prepare for their playoff push, every detail becomes critical and every moment can be significant in the playoffs. That’s the message that he’s getting across to his teammates.

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“The playoffs are that much faster and it kind of gradually goes up steps as you go along in the playoffs and you got to practice that much harder,” Kelce said.

“It’s not necessarily that you’re practicing ]harder you’re just practicing wit much more focus on the little things and it’s because you know things happen faster in the in the playoffs. It can be overwhelming but at the same time, I think that’s why you got good leaders guys that are that have been there and we’ve been fortunate to have those guys and experiences.”

Kickoff for one of the coldest games in football history is set for 7 p.m. Saturday.

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