Travis Kelce won’t be putting his NFL career in the rearview mirror anytime soon.
“I have no reason to stop playing football,” Kelce, 34, told reporters at a Thursday, January 11, press conference ahead of the playoffs.
On the field, Kelce — who is a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs — continues to be one of the top players in the league. He will finish the 2023 season with 93 catches for 984 yards and five touchdowns in over 15 games. He also aided the Chiefs to their eighth-straight AFC West Championship and ninth-straight playoff appearance with an 11-6 overall record. In November 2023, he broke the NFL record for reaching 11,000 receiving yards in the fewest number of games as a tight end.
Kelce, however, has also made a name for himself outside of football. After sparking a romance with girlfriend Taylor Swift last year, the pair became a beloved pop culture phenomenon. He has also become the face of the biopharmaceutical company Pfizer and hosted Saturday Night Live in March 2023.
While expanding his talents beyond football is something that Kelce has considered, he’s not in a rush to prioritize entertainment over his life as an athlete.
“I’ve been fortunate to do a few things outside of the sports world that I’ve been enjoying doing, like getting on camera,” he explained on Thursday. “The SNL stuff kind of opened up a new happiness and a new career path for me, but it’s funny for me to even say that at this point in my career because I think it’s so much further down the road than it is right now.”
He added, “I love it. We still have success.”
For now, Kelce is focused on helping his team get through the playoffs and defending his Super Bowl LVIII championship. The tight end didn’t even play in the Chiefs’ Sunday, January 10, game against the Los Angeles Chargers to prepare his body for the rest of the season.
“If I could get some rest going in the next week, stay off the turf out there in L.A. and just avoid some hits, I was all for that to gear up for the playoffs,” Kelce explained during an episode of his “New Heights” podcast. The choice to sit out kept Kelce from breaking the record for NFL tight end with the most consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He was just 16 receiving yards away from his eighth consecutive year. Instead, Travis ended the regular season with 984 receiving yards.
“It didn’t feel like I should be playing the game that way,” Travis explained on “New Heights,” adding that he doesn’t “give a s—t about the record.”
“I’ve never sat here and said if I don’t get 1,000 yards, my season was a failure,” he continued. “I’ve always had it in my mind … if I lose a Super Bowl, that’s a failure.”
While Travis has no plans to retire from football anytime soon, his brother, Jason Kelce, is a different story. The Philadelphia Eagles center has been candid about his thoughts on hanging up his helmet for good.
“It’s getting harder and harder to play,” Jason, 36, explained during his Prime Video documentary Kelce, which premiered last year. “There have been little things that are not big things yet but are going to turn into big things the longer I play.”
During a conversation with retired Eagles player Connor Barwin later in the film, Jason, who has played for the Eagles since 2011, said he’s “fearful” of what “the impacts of playing football are going to be long-term” after he retires.
“I have two girls, and some people end up getting CTE, some guys live long healthy lives, I have no idea what’s gonna happen,” he said.