Travis Kelce explains why he didn't chase personal stats versus Chargers

On the latest episode of his podcast, New Heights, Travis Kelce spoke about his decision to sit out Week 18.

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

They say there's "truth in joking" and perhaps that's true. It's possible that Travis Kelce was at least partially motivated by not wanting to face a motivated L.A. Chargers defense keyed in on keeping him from a major career milestone. Who could blame him?

Last Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs visited the Chargers in the regular-season finale for both teams in Week 18. The Chargers had very little to play for and the Chiefs were already locked into the No. 3 seed, win or lose, but some players had personal goals to reach—including defensive tackle Chris Jones who had a $1.25 million bonus at stake for a half-sack.

For Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, the milestone ahead of him was only 16 yards off the pace—the total needed to hit the magic 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards. For Kelce, it would have extended his active NFL record of consecutive 1,000-yard seasons by a TE to eight. He's held the record himself since he eclipsed four straight seasons, which broke the tie with former Carolina Panther Greg Olsen.

On the latest episode of his podcast, New Heights, Travis Kelce spoke about his decision to sit out Week 18.

Kelce entered Week 18 with 984 yards to his name, another stellar season of production for Kelce but notably shy of the four-figure mark to which Chiefs Kingdom has become accustomed. Chasing that mark made sense for the sake of posterity, but Kelce wasn't having it. Instead, after a season in which he's dealt with injuries and more defensive attention than ever before, he rested alongside most of his starting teammates on the Chiefs bench.

On the latest episode of his podcast, New Heights, Kelce spoke about his decision when interviewed by his brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce. At first, Kelce joked about the Chargers defense.

"I mean, is it not obvious? You think I was trying to go out there and get f—king powerbombed by Derwin James again? F—k that. Are you kidding me?" said Kelce with a laugh.

It's not as if Kelce needed a ton of yards to accomplish what he needed but all it takes is a survey of the second half of this season to see how opposing defenses have placed Kelce in a figurative chokehold and demanded the Chiefs to find other ways to move the chains. Kelce hasn't caught a touchdown pass since mid-November against the Eagles, and his 16 yards required were his full total from playing in Week 17 against the Bengals.

"I was never into this," Kelce said. "It never felt right to go out there chasing stats. I was kinda in and out of practice all week. For me to just jump in on game day and try to get 15 or 16 yards, whatever it was… which is a lot harder than what you guys think it is. Even though I had 100 and something against the Chargers earlier that year. It’s hard to do that twice against a team.

"They got a lot of veteran football players that understand the game and understand why the f—k I’m in the game."

Kelce did admit that he thought a lot about it but it just never sat right, and in the end, he had to live with his choices and chose to sit out.

"It wasn’t an easy decision. Everybody in the building had been coming up to me all week telling me they wanted it for me. All the guys on the team were behind it. Every day I just woke up and stared at the ceiling and I’m like, ‘Man, this just doesn’t feel right to go out here and chase this.’"