Travis Kelce’s growth as a leader now faces new challenge

Along with Anthony Sherman and Eric Fisher, Travis Kelce is now the longest-tenured player on the Kansas City Chiefs.

There are a hundred reasons to love Travis Kelce.

The Kansas City Chiefs tight end is as entertaining a player as you’ll find in today’s NFL, filled with a rare blend of charm, charisma, and confidence that somehow never quite spills into obnoxious territory. He’s an All-Pro talent, a historic blend of size, strength, athleticism, and catching ability setting records with each passing season. Beyond all of that, Kelce is also a strong community leader willing to take extra time with fans and invest in underserved areas via his organization 87 & Running.

To date, Kelce has been a key offensive cog, an engaging player, a community hero. Now he’s going to have to add elder statesman to his repertoire.

While there are older players on the Chiefs roster, Kelce is now the longest-tenured player on the team—an honor shared alongside fullback Anthony Sherman and left tackle Eric Fisher. At eight years apiece, each player now holds the most experience being a member of Chiefs Kingdom along with their head coach Andy Reid.

With the release of punter Dustin Colquitt in recent weeks, the mantle of being the longest tenured now falls on the shoulders of Kelce and company. With it comes another level of growth as a leader for the tight end, a process we’ve already watched up close for the last eight seasons. In that time, Kelce has grown up considerably in his approach. He’s never lost that playful side even as he’s become more professional.

It wasn’t so long ago that Kelce was an elite performer who also had his own reality dating show. He was also once fined $11K for making a wanking gesture near a ref. In the years since, however, Chiefs Kingdom has watched Kelce grow and mature into a true team leader, a man whose words and actions are more measured than before. He’s a man who understands now, more than ever, what he means to a legion of fans, especially young ones who idolize him as a role model.

Chad Henne is the oldest player on the Chiefs roster, and the team has 7 players who are age 30 or older. However, it’s Kelce who stands out among this group as the player with the biggest platform. With Colquitt’s release, Kelce is now also the man who can speak with the most experience about what it means to play for the Chiefs, to represent Chiefs Kingdom, to play under the lights of Arrowhead.

It’s the next step in Kelce’s leadership arc, a journey that’s brought him to superstardom and a place forever cherished by Chiefs fans.