Chiefs news: Noah Gray takes on more responsibility in '23

The Chiefs are asking more of Noah Gray just as he says he's playing faster than ever.

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Jacksonville Jaguars v Kansas City Chiefs / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Noah Gray sounds like a man ready for what's ahead of him.

Coming into the National Football League, Gray was known as a fairly one-dimensional player whose hands were a pro-level asset coming out of Duke. From there, scouts said he needed work on the blocking work required to take on the tight end position at the highest levels, but the Chiefs took the chance on Gray knowing how those around him raved about his leadership, work ethic, and teachability.

Now coming into his third year in Kansas City, Gray is earning more opportunities than ever.

The Chiefs are rolling without an official fullback this season for the first time in several years after watching Michael Burton reunite with Sean Payton in Denver. In his place, the Chiefs are asking Gray to take on a hybrid role while he remains Travis Kelce's primary backup on the depth chart. For his part, Gray says he's happy to do what's asked by the coaching staff.

"I’m just doing whatever the coaches ask me to do, whatever they need me to fill that role," said Gray from training camp in St. Joseph. "So I’m just having fun with whatever position they put me in."

The Chiefs are asking more of tight end Noah Gray just as he says he's playing faster than ever.

Gray's trajectory was already taking him places even as a rookie when he earned 289 snaps on offense alongside or in place of Kelce. Last year, that number grew by 300 to 597 as he played on over half of the team's offensive snaps. Gray's presence has allowed head coach Andy Reid to utilize two tight end sets with confidence and now it's clear Gray will be trusted with more.

Gray says the biggest difference in this year's training camp compared to previous years is about the speed at which he's able to play.

"Understanding this offense. This is a difficult offense to understand," says Gray. "There’s a lot of moving parts, so I think in that regard, it’s been a lot easier moving forward here, which has been good. I’d say that’s the biggest thing is just retaining the information to go out there and play fast."

Of course it doesn't help to play behind and learn from someone like Travis Kelce who is redefining the position from year to year with such historic production. That said, Gray is quick to do away with any pressure to follow in Kelce's footsteps.

"I learn a lot from him because I think he’s the greatest tight end to ever play the game," says Gray. "He’s an excellent mentor and an even better friend, too. Watching him out here and picking his brain is great, but Travis Kelce is Travis Kelce. I’m just trying to do my job to the best of my ability."