The fifth-year Kansas City Chiefs tight end juggles plenty of performance titles—2017 Pro Bowl MVP, first-team AP All-Pro TE and Pro Football Writers of America All-NFL Team to name a few.
But the title, offensive team captain for the playoffs, is pretty good for a guy who didn't know where he stood in terms of leadership with his team.
At a team meeting early in the week leading up to the playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Coach Reid started rambling off the captains and called his name.
"My eyes kind of opened up and I was like, 'Whoa. I didn't even know I was in the discussion.' I can think of three or four guys on the offensive side of the ball that I know I respect and that I would have put up there," Kelce recalled of that moment.
Kelce was surprised his name was called for such leadership role, let alone a role that's voted upon by his teammates.
"I didn't see that as clear, so when I got elected as a captain in the playoffs, that really opened my eyes," Travis Kelce explained. "That really was the moment that turned the switch from how I view myself—I have to do these things.
"These young guys are going to see me and learn from me knowing I've had success in this profession. With that comes the responsibility of doing things the right way. The team needs me to do that and I need to be that for the team.
"That's the area of focus moving forward – not only being a consistent player on the field, but also in the locker room just being that consistent friend, teammate and captain."
Through five seasons, Kelce has averaged 58.4 yards receiving per game, the highest for a tight end in franchise history and the fourth most among all Chiefs players (including wide receivers).
Kelce currently ranks third on the Chiefs' career yards receiving list among tight ends with 2,862. Only two players—Fred Arbanas (3,101) and Tony Gonzalez (10,940) rank ahead of him.
His 224 career receptions are second most among tight ends in franchise history. Kelce only trails Gonzalez, who finished his 12-year Kansas City career with 916 receptions.
Kelce became the 11th player, and second tight end, in franchise history to record at least three seasons of 50 or more pass receptions in their career. He posted 67 receptions in 2014, 72 receptions in 2015 and 85 receptions in 2016, which actually ranks as the 16th best season for a tight end in NFL history.
Kelce had 85 receptions for 1,125 yards, leading all tight ends, and four touchdowns last season. It was his first 1,000-yard season in his four-year career.
The NFL Network named Kelce to its "Top 100 Players of 2017" list. Kelce came in at the league's 26th best player, which is up 65 spots from last season (No. 91).
Kelce was also pretty popular on Pro Football Focus.
Back at the NFL Scouting Combine in early March, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid shared the news that Kelce underwent offseason shoulder surgery and would miss all workouts leading up to training camp.
It's all about a progression for the Chiefs, both as a team and also for the players individually.
The next step for Kelce in that development may have come from being voted offensive captain in the playoffs, when he got the validation he needed to take the next step for this team.
"I can see this thing going somewhere that hasn't been reached yet," Kelce said of the future. "I see what guys have done before me and what guys are doing right now and I still feel like I'm the one that's going to be the last one standing.
"That's just the confidence that I have in who I want to be and who I think I need to be for the Chiefs," Kelce added.