'I'm a Big Fan of Pat's' — Travis Kelce Can Approach History With Mahomes' Help

Joe Andrews

After four-straight 1,000-plus yard seasons, tight end Travis Kelce has charged toward the top of all-time Kansas City Chiefs career leaderboards.

Entering his eighth year in the league, Kelce ranks No. 3 in receptions (507) and No. 5 in yardage (6,465) among all-time Chiefs. He’s had a little help along the way, including the starting quarterbacks he’s played with: Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes.

“I was very fortunate to have a great quarterback in Alex Smith,” Kelce told reporters in a videoconference on Thursday. “I’ve always thought very highly of him and I’m excited to see what he’s got going out in Washington right now. I think moving forward from that when Pat got into the huddle, it was just a little bit different.”

Kelce’s best season occurred during the first year of the Mahomes era, recording 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns on 103 catches. He added four more scores, 1,104 yards and 84 receptions in 2020.

Kelce averaged 61.7 yards per game with Smith, growing to 81.3 with Mahomes. The tight end said the jump arrived through the difference in playing style.

“It is what it is — I think [Mahomes] brought a different energy, different style to the game that even I was a little more accustomed to, just going out and playing ball in the backyard type football.”

Kelce can move into the top two for receptions and yardage this season with at least 25 catches and 961 yards. At that point, he’ll begin chasing NFL Hall of Famer, Chiefs Ring of Honor member and fellow tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Kelce is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season but could have a chance of reaching Gonzalez's numbers if he receives an extension. He’d have Mahomes along for the ride, too.

“Obviously, I’m a big fan of Pat's,” Kelce said. “I think he’s the best player in the National Football League. You can’t tell me there’s a better quarterback than him, that’s for sure. You can turn on whatever film you want, he’s the best player in the National Football League in my mind. He led us to a Super Bowl because he is that…. I think it’s a fun time to be a Kansas City Chief and it’s because 1-5 is in the building for sure.”