The recent decision by the Kansas City Chiefs to sideline tight end Travis Kelce in the regular season finale fueled speculation about a potential retirement.
Kelce, merely 16 yards away from completing his eighth consecutive season with over 1,000 yards, raised eyebrows when he chose to rest.
Initially thought to be a call made by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, it was later clarified that Kelce himself opted to sit out, prioritizing caution ahead of the playoffs.
This unexpected move left fans questioning whether the 34-year-old star was contemplating hanging up his cleats.
Despite being on the verge of a historic streak and with a well-established reputation as a two-time Super Bowl champion, Kelce laid these worries to rest in a conversation with reporters on Thursday, January 11.
Asked by @SamMcDowell11 if considering retirement, Travis Kelce playfully says everyone has to think about it but adds that he has no plans to do so any time soon … even as acknowledges options opened up by SNL appearance and such. pic.twitter.com/W8smPnO20M— Vahe Gregorian (@vgregorian) January 11, 2024
Addressing retirement rumors, Kelce asserted, “I have no reason to stop playing football. Man, I love it. We still have success. Come in with the right mindset. I just love the challenge that it gives me every day to try and be at my best. Like I said, I have no desire to stop anytime soon.”
Asked about his plans if he were to retire, Kelce responded, “That’s the point of the offseason. Being able to get out there and find what you really love to do. I’ve been fortunate to do a few things outside of the sports world that I enjoy doing. Like getting on camera, the ‘SNL’ stuff kinda opened up a new happiness and a new career path for me.”
While retirement might be a topic for some players, Kelce emphasized that it is not on his immediate horizon: “It’s funny for me to even say that at this point in my career because it’s so much further down the road than it is right now.”
The Chiefs’ final regular-season game against the Los Angeles Chargers saw Kelce’s teammates, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes, keen on extending his impressive streak.
Mahomes revealed that they even devised a game plan to minimize risks for Kelce, who ultimately declined, prioritizing his health for the playoffs.
Mahomes commended Kelce’s teammate-first mentality, stating, “In all honesty, I was trying to force him to play… I was trying to force him all the way up until game time, and then he said, ‘No, that’s not who I am. I don’t want to play for those reasons, I want to get myself healthy and ready for the playoffs.’”
Even Chiefs head coach Andy Reid faced retirement speculations in the lead-up to the Wild Card round against the Miami Dolphins.
Addressing the rumors during a press conference, the 65-year-old Reid dismissed retirement thoughts, emphasizing his focus on the upcoming game against the Dolphins.
“I haven’t even thought about that,” Reid said. “I’m thinking about one thing. I figured that would come up when you guys were asking these questions because I’m old. But not that old.”
With retirement talks dispelled, the Chiefs gear up to face the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday, January 13, at 8:15 p.m. ET, with their sights set on playoff success.