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Chiefs QB Mahomes ‘surprised’ his favorite target TE Kelce could play vs. Jags

Kelce finds end zone in return from knee injury
Chiefs Jaguars Football
Posted at 6:45 PM, Sep 17, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes seemed shocked that Travis Kelce was able to suit up Sunday at Jacksonville for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Honestly, just the fact that he played, it surprised me, honestly,” Mahomes said. “That’s a scary injury. He didn’t look good there for a little bit, but he battled those extra days. He was in the facility rehabbing. To get himself out there and ready to play, it talks about the competitiveness that he has and the teammate that he is.”

Kelce hyperextended his knee and suffered a bone bruise in practice Sept. 5 and wasn’t able to play in a season-opening loss to Detroit.

But Kelce, who suited up and even scored a touchdown in a 17-9 win against the Jaguars, said missing another game wasn’t an option.

“There was no doubt in my mind,” Kelce said with a laugh. “It is what it is. I was out there flying around. I wish I would have helped my team out a little more than I did, but we came out of Jacksonville with a win.”

Addressing the injury for the first time, Kelce said, “It was a routine play, got caught in a bad position. I’ve just got to be more fundamentally sound, I guess.”

The injury reportedly happened during a red-zone period.

“Initially, I was like, ‘What the heck happened? And hopefully, there’s nothing severe,’” Kelce said. “But once I started working out with the training staff, doing a lot of the rehab, I just put full faith in the medical staff that we have here, and, sure enough, I was able to get out there.”

Kelce’s return didn’t solve all of the issues that have plagued Kansas City through the first two weeks of the season.

Against the Lions, it was dropped passes, including one by Kadarius Toney that was returned for a game-tying touchdown, that doomed the Chiefs.

Twelve penalties, including eight by the offense, and three turnovers, including one on special teams, prevented Kansas City’s offense from finding any rhythm in Jacksonville.

But with a stout defensive effort and help from Kelce, who showed his unusually impeccable chemistry with Mahomes in beating the Jags’ zone for a 9-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second half, the Chiefs managed to overcome those gaffes and improve to 1-1 overall.

“I’m not going to say it was an issue at all,” Kelce said of his injury. “Everything that you saw out there was 100% what I could give. Hopefully, next week we get even better from it.”