Earlier in the season, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce openly discussed the possibility of retirement, signaling a potential shift towards a career in media.
However, recent observations have raised questions about whether the end of Kelce’s NFL career might arrive sooner than anticipated.
On a recent episode of the Kansas City Chiefs Podcast, Nate Taylor of The Kansas City Sports Network shared his thoughts on Kelce, suggesting that 2023 could be the “last great year” for the 34-year-old pass-catcher.
Taylor described the atmosphere in the Chiefs’ locker room after clinching the AFC West division title as “jovial,” but he couldn’t help but notice a change in Kelce.
“In a fair way [Kelce] looks tired. He looked spent, and he didn’t walk with the same gusto or bounce that I’m used to or accustomed to after a win,” remarked Taylor.
In Kansas City’s Week 17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, Kelce’s performance was notably subdued, logging just three catches for 16 yards, tying his season low for receptions and marking his second-worst yardage total of the year.
“I’m going to advise that Andy Reid give him a week off,” Taylor continued. “I know statistically what that means, but if your goal is to try to be a valiant champion in a repeat attempt, he needs a week off.”
Kelce’s recent decline in production is evident, with only 88 receiving yards in his last three games, compared to 255 yards in the preceding three contests.
While his overall season statistics are impressive—93 receptions for 984 yards and five touchdowns, earning him his ninth straight Pro Bowl selection—there are growing concerns about his stamina and longevity in the game.
If Kelce sits out Week 18, it will be the first time since 2015 that he did not reach the 1,000-yard mark in a single season. As Kelce continues to age, speculations about the potential decline of his performance gain traction.
With the Chiefs securing the No. 3 seed in the AFC and a playoff spot, they face the Los Angeles Chargers in their regular-season finale.
Regardless of the outcome, the Chiefs’ position in the standings remains unchanged, at 10-6. As the regular season concludes, uncertainty looms over Travis Kelce’s future in the NFL.