NFL GM Thought Chiefs’ Travis Kelce ‘Might Be Almost Done’ During Loss to Packers

One NFL general manager saw some worrying signs from tight end Travis Kelce in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 27-19 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 13.

The Athletic’s Mike Sando referenced how Kelce is seeing his numbers dip a bit. His 11.2 yards per reception are set to be a career low, and he’s averaging four fewer receiving yards per game (74.7) compared to last season.

“It is funny you say that,” the GM said to Sando. “I was watching him run down on that Hail Mary (against Green Bay), and I was thinking he might be almost done. I say that understanding he has been productive at times this year. But you know what the first sign of decline for a player like Travis Kelce is? That he is not the same player late in the season. It means his body is not recovering.”

Sando interviewed an NFL offensive coach who thought this was much ado about nothing, saying the eight-time Pro Bowler “has never been good lining up and beating a guy press-man on him.”

Kelce turned 34 in October and has appeared in 156 games over his career. Pointing out that his skills could be diminishing isn’t exactly revelatory given his age and the amount of mileage he has put on his body.

Rob Gronkowski retired twice before he was 33. Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates all played into their mid-30s, but none of the three was performing at his peak by that point.

It’s also worth pointing out that Kelce has 255 receiving yards with 15.9 yards per catch over Kansas City’s last three games. This doesn’t really look like a player who’s “almost done” or one whose production is noticeably tailing off.

The GM’s comments do hit on one thing, though.

Life without Kelce could come sooner than Kansas City expects. In a November interview with J.R. Moehringer of WSJ. Magazine, he said he has pondered retirement “more than anyone could ever imagine.”

While nothing points to his imminent departure from the league, Kelce has set himself up nicely for life after football. He seems like the kind of star who, rather than leaving a series of breadcrumbs telegraphing his mindset, could decide one offseason playing in the NFL simply isn’t worth it anymore.