KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A stronger and healthier Travis Kelce appears set for bigger things entering his third season.
The Chiefs’ star tight end is 18 months removed from microfracture knee surgery and will have the benefit of a full offseason workout program to prepare unlike the past year.
“I got from about July on to get ready for the season,” Kelce said Monday of the 2014 offseason. “So in terms of that, I was a step behind in my eyes and I never really got back to where I thought I should have been.”
Kelce’s proclamation of playing the past season while not at 100 percent strength should cause nightmares for opposing defenses based on his production.
The 25-year-old Kelce appeared in 16 games with 11 starts, leading the Chiefs in receptions (67) and yards receiving (862). He added five receiving touchdowns, which tied for the team lead with running back Jamaal Charles.
Kelce’s 668 total snaps on offense ranked second behind Anthony Fasano’s 671 snaps at the tight end position, according to snap count totals at FootballOutisiders.com.
With Fasano now with the Tennessee Titans, Kelce sits atop the depth chart and he accepts the challenge.
“It’s always been a high accountability on myself,” Kelce said. “When you see Fasano go – that’s a brother – that rips your heart out. But it’s a business and of course he knows that and everyone else in the room knows that. It just lets you know that it is a business and everybody’s spot is vulnerable. It just makes you want to be more accountable in terms of what you do for a living.”
Kelce missed most of his rookie season after undergoing microfracture surgery in early October 2013. But he is a success story when it comes to the procedure, which arguably causes angst at the very mention of it.
The Chiefs played it smart during the 2014 offseason by holding Kelce out of all 10 days of organized team activities (OTAs). And he didn’t return to the practice field until the mandatory three-day minicamp on June 17-19.
Even then, Kelce was limited to the individual position drills as he continued his rehabilitation. His first full practice arrived less than a month later in training camp.
“Coach (Andy) Reid and everybody gave me one heck of an opportunity,” Kelce said. “They eased me into it. The trainers, Rick Burkholder and David Glover, got me ready for the season. I can’t be anything but thankful for that. That’s in the past; I’m just working on being the best I can this year.”
The 6-foot-5 Kelce, who played the 2014 season at 250 pounds, said he currently weighs between 255 and 260 pounds.
He said his goal is to maintain 260 pounds, which was his college playing weight, and the additional mass will be of the good variety.
“There’s a difference between gaining weight and gaining muscle,” Kelce said. “I really think that with an entire offseason like this, I’ll go ahead and gain more muscle and be more ready for a complete season.”
Kelce has high optimism of what he will contribute with a full offseason workout program to work with, one where he won’t be limited.
But the third-year pro also realizes he is but one piece of what the Chiefs have assembled since the 2014 season ended.
“In my mind, the sky is the limit,” Kelce said. “That is just the confidence that I have in the players, the team that we’ve been able to put together, because I think we can go ahead and have one heck of an outstanding season, whether that is me putting up big numbers or average numbers or whatever statistics that you want to throw out there. I think this team is going to be one heck of a team going forward.”
Herbie Teope is the lead beat writer and reporter for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: