When the tight end's football career was on pause in college, it "was like my life was over," he told WSJ. Magazine
Retirement is always on Travis Kelce’s mind.
The Kansas City Chiefs tight end, 34, got candid about his football career with WSJ. Magazine for the cover of its December/January issue, revealing that he thinks about retiring “more than anyone could ever imagine.”
Kelce “loves to talk about the old days,” according to one of his hometown pals, Patrick Bacon, from Cleveland Heights, Ohio. But when it comes to his future in the sport — and the pain it causes him now — the star athlete keeps his thoughts private.
“That’s the only thing I’ve never really been open about … the discomfort. The pain. The lingering injuries — the 10 surgeries I’ve had,” he told WSJ. Magazine, adding that he still feels “every single surgery to this day.”
Both the Chief’s longtime tight end coach, Tom Melvin, and Kelce’s personal trainer and physical therapist, Alex Skacel, elaborated on the injuries the NFL star experiences regularly — and why he pushes through them.
According to Skacel, there is not a single day during the football season that the tight end is not littered in bruises and scratches that require treatment far beyond basic therapy.
But Kelce diminishes the pain so he can keep playing, Melvin said. He simply refuses to miss a game.
“He has phenomenal pain tolerance. He’s played through things that other athletes I’ve coached through the years have not been able to push through,” the coach said, adding that Kelce is “mentally tough — way off the charts.”
Painful or otherwise, Kelce is not ready to hang up his jersey just yet. He did once, and it wasn’t by choice.
His college career was put on pause when, as a sophomore at the University of Cincinnati, he was kicked off of the team for smoking marijuana.
“It was like my life was over,” he told WSJ. Magazine of the moment.
At the time, Kelce — who felt that he had lost not only his scholarship but his purpose in life — got a taste of life without football. He got a job doing telemarketing surveys about the Affordable Care Act, an experience he described to the magazine as “eye-opening.”
Specifically, it taught him that when he ultimately does retire, he does not want to pivot back to the field.
Instead, Kelce has considered staying closer to the game he loves post-retirement as a sports broadcaster, he told the outlet.
His manager has also suggested putting his tight end build to use in action movies, but — given the internet's fascination with his old tweets, his successful stint hosting Saturday Night Live and his affinity for stand-up — a career in comedy may be a better fit.
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“It was an experience that was like nothing else that I've ever gone through,” he said of the hosting gig. “I just can't thank them enough for giving me that opportunity, because I didn't know I was going to enjoy scripted comedy, or that entire entertainment world as much as I did, until I was on a set and going through the week of preparation and stuff like that.”
"So I'm definitely interested [in pursuing more acting projects],” he added. “But that's a whole new craft that I feel like I really gotta lock in and focus on [before I do].”
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