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Chiefs TE Travis Kelce is Who We Thought He Was

After his first healthy NFL season, Travis Kelce lived up to what many believed was possible

In just his second NFL season, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was rarely accompanied by a dull moment. He made big-time plays and wasn't ever afraid to tell you what he was thinking.

This is exactly who we thought he was when the Chiefs selected him in the third round (No. 63 overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Cincinnati—a playmaker with an edge to him.

Kelce, who played just one special team snap as a rookie before being lost for the season with a knee injury, finished his first healthy season by leading the Chiefs in receiving, hauling in 67 passes for 862 yards and five touchdowns.

According to Pro Football Focus, Kelce led all NFL tight ends with 503 yards after the catch this season, but also ranked as the best run-blocking tight end in the NFL.

That combination of making plays in space but also possessing the physicality to play well in the trenches is the perfect explanation in trying to define his versatility.

What never needed an explanation but was always asked of Kelce is of his celebrations, which were early and often for the Chiefs.

It seemed like every time Kelce made a big play, something meme or GIF-worthy was soon to follow.

"He's got a little flare," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "He's got a little zest to him."


The expression of his personality wasn't tapered by Reid either.

"Just go out there and have fun. Be you," Kelce explained of Reid's message to them. "Don't be uptight; don't be too loose; just be you. Every guy in this locker room got here because they were themselves and they stayed true to who they are.

"[Coach Reid] doesn't want that to change."

Kelce's first NFL touchdown came in Week 3 against the Miami Dolphins, which also happened to be the Chiefs' first win of the season.

Late in the second quarter, Kelce took a short pass across the middle from quarterback Alex Smith and turned it upfield and dove towards the pylon in the corner of the end zone, crossing the goal line before going out of bounds.

It was the first demonstration of the athleticism most tight ends don't possess that resulted in getting into the end zone for Kelce.

The win against Miami in Week 3 set up a Monday night showdown with Rob Gronkowski and the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium.

"It's prime time," Kelce said before that game. "The lights are going to be on. It's going to be fun."

All of the lights, all of the pressure and what was arguably the best performance by the Chiefs all season may have also been Kelce's best game.

Kelce outshined the All-Pro tight end and finished with eight receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown.

"I'm willing to do whatever I need to do to help this team win," Kelce said after the game. "Whether it's (run blocking), catching (bubble screens), blocking or running deep, it all varies throughout the game.

Travis Kelce's biggest moments in 2014.

"I pride myself on being versatile."

On that particular night, Kelce gave the Chiefs exactly what they needed.

"I am a guy that has a lot of passion to play this game," he explained. "I enjoy playing every single minute that I am out there. It's one of those things where I kind of have to control the animal inside of me."

As the Chiefs spend this offseason looking for ways to improve both sides of the ball, either through the draft or free agency, Kelce will be looked upon as a leader heading into next season.

His breakout performance in 2014 has only set the stage with high expectations for an encore performance in 2015.

Kelce's love for football, manifested through big time plays and social media-loving celebrations, once again tells us that he's exactly who we thought he was.

"I got a fire underneath me to play this game," he said. "That's why I love playing it. You've got to play this game with passion.

"Every snap you get, you really have to go out there and dominate."

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