Chiefs TE Travis Kelce ‘forever in debt’ to brother Jason for saving football career

Travis Kelce, Jason Kelce
Posted at 1:32 PM, Feb 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-11 07:12:32-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Travis Kelce's life could've been a whole lot different if his brother, Jason, didn't step up in 2010 after the younger of the Kelce brothers was suspended by the University of Cincinnati for a positive marijuana test.

“When I got removed from the team, I got my scholarship taken away,” Travis Kelce, an All-Pro tight end with the Kansas City Chiefs, said.

That left him high and dry — needing to find not only a place to crash but, in some ways, survive — instead of enjoying his sophomore season.

His older brother Jason, who went on to become an All-Pro center for the Philadelphia Eagles, was a senior with the Bearcats at the time and offered to let Travis crash with him in his room, squeezing two beds into Jason's room.

"It was kind of like two brothers growing up in the same room," Travis said Thursday when asked about the experience. "I wasn’t paying rent, (Jason) was helping me with food. I was literally living off of him for quite a while down there. He was my lifeline.”

While helping Travis survive, Jason also worked on his little brother's behalf behind the scenes, talking to several members of Cincinnati football team's coaching staff, including then-Bearcats coach Butch Jones.

“He went into the coaches' office and actually talked to numerous coaches and people on the Cincinnati staff to try and give me another a chance to be on the team,” Travis Kelce said.

Meanwhile, he spent that time trying to improve as a person and move on from this low point of his career.

"Every single day, I was trying to do the right things," Travis Kelce said.

Luckily for Travis, Jason's efforts were successful and he returned to the team the next year.

As a senior in 2012, Kelce would emerge as a first-team All-Big East tight end despite never playing the position before attending Cincinnati.

The next spring, he got drafted by the Chiefs and the rest is history — NFL history.

Travis Kelce has become arguably the best tight end in NFL history, and is now trying to create a legacy not only for himself, but for the entire tight end position.

His seven 1,000-yard seasons are a record for tight ends and he also owns eight Pro Bowl and four first-team All-Pro selections.

Jason Kelce isn't a slouch with six Pro Bowl and five first-team All-Pro selections.

While the Kelce brothers are set to become the first in NFL history to square off in a Super Bowl when the Chiefs and Eagles meet Sunday night at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, Travis Kelce knows deep down that he's indebted to Jason for the opportunity before him.

“I’m forever in debt to him,” Travis Kelce said. “He put his honor on the line to give me another chance to play football. When I say I owe it all to him, I really do.”