Travis Kelce Out of Walking Boot, but Not Yet Ready to Return from Ankle Surgery

Matt Derrick

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce underwent offseason ankle surgery, but the timetable for his return to the practice field remains uncertain as the Chiefs began offseason workouts Monday.

“The ankle's getting there, it feels good,” Kelce said Monday. “Finally got out of the boot on Friday and everything feels good. We're on track.”

The Chiefs began the first phase on the NFL's offseason program Monday, which is limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. Phase two begins in two weeks, which is when teams can start individual instruction and on-field work but no live team drills are allowed. In five weeks teams can full team activities.

For now, Kelce plans on taking his rehab week by week and focusing on improving his ankle's stability. He says he has no set time frame for returning to the field.

“I can't even tell you,” Kelce said. “I wish I knew. I wish I could do everything right now. I'm just in the facility and ready to get things going, that's for sure.”

His absence shouldn't hurt the Chiefs during the offseason program as the search for his backups. With Demetrius Harris departing as a free agent for the Cleveland Browns, there's a wide open competition for the spots behind Kelce.

Deon Yelder, a rookie free agent last season who spent the final few games on the 53-man roster, leads a group that includes fellow 2018 rookie free agent David Wells and veteran tight end Blake Bell. Wells spent most of last season on the club's practice squad, while spent played 10 games in 2018 for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bell earned the nickname “Belldozer” at Oklahoma for his frequent use at quarterback in short-yardage situations for the Sooners. He started at quarterback for Oklahoma as a junior before moving to tight end his senior season.

“Blake is an addition that I think is awesome,” Kelce said. “Blake, he can roll. He's an athlete, former quarterback like myself. Former Wildcat guy like myself, I wouldn't call myself a quarterback. It's just cool to have the Belldozer in.”

Kelce said the Chiefs have a challenge in replacing Harris, who caught 57 passes for 605 yards and seven touchdowns in five seasons as his backup.

“Dee Harris is always going to be a brother to a lot of guys in this locker room,” Kelce said. “I'm happy and I'm excited for him to get a new opportunity, well deserved opportunity, and I think he's going to do just fine where he is.”

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