Travis Kelce on tight end pay days, concussions, Mahomes Magic and more I The Rush

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is on The Rush, chatting with Jared about his on-field acrobatic moves, what went through his mind when he was WWE-style body slammed by Derwin James in Week 2, why watching Patrick Mahomes make magic on the field never gets old, the case for versatile tight ends to make more money, how the league and players can utilize protocols to reduce concussion damage, guest hosting SNL, and his most memorable Super Bowl halftime show… from inside the locker room. Plus, Travis Kelce and Tide have teamed up to offer sports fans the chance to win cool prizes! Click here for more info on how your lucky jersey can help you become a winner.

Video Transcript

JARED QUAY: In week two against the San Diego Chargers, Derwin James gave you a WWE-type body slam. And my question is, what's going through your head when getting a tackle like that? Like, do you get a chance to think, like, is this really happening?

TRAVIS KELCE: No, it's actually all in slow motion. You don't really feel like what's going on is real. But I felt him wrap his arms around my legs, and in that moment, I knew I was going up top.

And it was-- there was nothing I could do about it. Just make sure you hold onto the ball, and luckily enough, I held on until I hit the ground. And I couldn't hold on to it after that.

- What's up, everybody? I'm here with Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. How are you doing today, Kelc?

TRAVIS KELCE: Man, it's a beautiful day, man. I can't complain.

JARED QUAY: It's got to be-- I mean, I wonder how your body is feeling after hurdling over Logan Ryan for a touchdown last night.

TRAVIS KELCE: I'll tell you what. My body felt smooth after that one, but there were a few other blocks and tackles that I'm definitely feeling midweek.

- Sore back, sore arms, and sore legs.

JARED QUAY: Your quarterback Patrick Mahomes pulling all kinds of magic tricks out against the Bucs. Is that something that you're used to now because you play with them, or are you still on the field like, wow, what did he just do?

TRAVIS KELCE: Man, I'm telling you. It's still-- you think that you've seen it all, man. Through our practices, you know, the stuff that he can do just blows your mind even when you're playing with them. You just have to remember that it's not watching movies out there.

You're a part of the action too. So you can't get caught just watching them do these spectacular things. You've got to actually help them out and try and get open and be a part of it, man. It's just-- it's too much fun, man. A guy like that, the play is never dead.

JARED QUAY: Also, you do a lot of blocking like you said, but you also catch the ball, kind of putting up top receiver numbers. But you're also labeled a tight end. My question to you is, like, tight ends get paid so much less than receivers. What can we do to close the financial gap between receivers and tight ends?

TRAVIS KELCE: Guys like obviously George Kittle, Darren Waller have come with huge bags. And it's starting to get to more respectable numbers, for sure. We need the opportunities.

And I think that I'm very fortunate where I'm at that I get the opportunity to get the ball on an every game basis multiple times. You know, I'm getting a lot of targets. Darren Waller is doing the same thing out in Vegas. But we need more of that throughout the league. So I need the coaches to make sure that we're looking to set these tight ends up.

JARED QUAY: We need to pay the tight ends. I'm going to wear a t-shirt that says that--

TRAVIS KELCE: You already know. We need that. Need that.

- Amen, brother.

JARED QUAY: Also on your podcast, you talk about Rihanna, who will be this year's halftime performer. You've been to the Super Bowl so many times. Does it suck that you don't get to see the magical performances?

TRAVIS KELCE: The one that I do remember was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. The Weeknd was playing at halftime. When I tell you the subwoofers must have been right over our locker room-- the ceilings were shaking. You know, you could barely have a conversation with the guy next to you. So it was, like, I knew that that one was rocking.

JARED QUAY: The NFL and Players Association are working on changing concussion protocols. What do you think of the effort to do a more thorough job of keeping players with head injuries sidelined?

TRAVIS KELCE: As long as we keep everybody following that protocol that the NFL's set up and taking it serious and knowing how serious of a matter it. Is nobody wants to see, you know, an unbelievable player and a great guy get carted off the field like that after two big head shots. So it's just-- it's an unfortunate situation, and hopefully, we can all learn from it. And obviously, hopefully, Tua is doing all right.

JARED QUAY: Concussions are hard to diagnose. So how much of it is players still being like, I got this, I want to play, you know, that, you know, competitive edge that makes you want to play versus, like, doctors being like, I know you want to play, but I'm sorry?

TRAVIS KELCE: That's why I think the league has made it to where it's out of the player's control, you know? They bring in somebody that's not a team affiliated. You know, they're just out there to look after your safety.

And I think that's the way to do it is to take all bias out of this thing and just make the best decision for the player. As a player, I'm going to want to go back in the game no matter what, you know? It's just in me to do that.

But at the same time, you know, you cannot be in the safest state of mind to be able to do that. And I think that's where you got to leave it up to professionals, man. Listen. I know that everybody has that one lucky jersey that they just can't wash.

JARED QUAY: You partner with Tide, putting superstitious sports fans and laundry detergent to the test.

TRAVIS KELCE: Oh yeah.

JARED QUAY: As a hardcore NFL fan myself, what do I got to do to win these dope prizes?

TRAVIS KELCE: Well, first off, you got to wash your lucky jersey, your lucky item, your superstitious clothing item that you have that you just don't want to-- you think that when you wash it, you're going to wash all the luck off it. You got to wash that, and you got to tell us on my social media posts either on Instagram or TikTok what you would do to wash that lucky Jersey because with Tide, we're tackling superstition, man. And if you tell us exactly what you would do on a comment on one of the posts, you'll be able to win a bunch of prizes-- tickets to a game, maybe even a ticket to a Super Bowl. Man, with Tide Hygienic Clean, you can wash it and still keep that Jersey or that clothing item lucky as can be.

JARED QUAY: Heidi Gardner from "SNL" says she wants you and Patrick Mahomes to co-host the show. So my question is, would you do it, and if you did, what would be your favorite "SNL" classic sketch to be involved in?

TRAVIS KELCE: Man, that is a great-- hitting me with great questions. I grew up on SNL. So it would be a dream come true to be able to actually host it, let alone host it with my guy Pat. And obviously, Heidi is a huge, huge Chiefs fan. To be able to do something, you know, along those lines with her it would probably be hysterical.

JARED QUAY: Well, look here, man. I appreciate you rushing with you, man. Keep getting-- balling out, doing backflips over guys into end zones, man. I can't wait to see you not watch the halftime show because you're in the Super Bowl, man. Take care.

TRAVIS KELCE: Thank you, J. Always, always fun.