Chiefs News: Andy Reid’s 2-Word Response on Travis Kelce Playing vs. Chargers

Getty Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce at Arrowhead Stadium on December 31, 2023.
The Kansas City Chiefs (10-6) travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers (5-11) in Week 18, but the game is meaningless. Kansas City is locked in as the No. 3 seed whether or not they win.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, January 3, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid announced that quarterback Patrick Mahomes will not play on Sunday against the Chargers. Instead, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert will get the start. The decision doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Risking an injury to their $450 million franchise star in a zero-consequence game is a huge gamble.

As for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Reid left the door open for him to play. “We’ll see,” he said, per SI’s Jordan Foote. Putting him in a position to possibly get hurt before the playoffs is hazardous, but Kelce is nearing a huge milestone in Week 18.

The tight end is just 16 yards away from notching his eighth consecutive season with over 1,000 yards. It’s unclear if there’s a financial bonus in his contract for that mark, but the future Hall-of-Famer’s historic streak will come to an end if he doesn’t play.

If Kelce doesn’t suit up for the Week 18 matchup, it’s unknown if his girlfriend, Taylor Swift, will travel to SoFi for the anticlimactic game.

As for Mahomes, he already hit a personal milestone during the Chiefs’ 25-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals last week. The two-time Super Bowl MVP topped over 4,000 passing yards on the season for the sixth straight season. Only five other quarterbacks own longer streaks in NFL history, per Chiefs reporter Matt McMullen: “Drew Brees (12 straight from 2006-17), Matt Ryan (10 straight from 2011-20), Philip Rivers (8 straight from 2013-20), Peyton Manning (8 straight from 2006-14) and Matthew Stafford (7 straight from 2011-17).”

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce Is Not the Only Player Andy Reid Is Undecided on Whether to Play

In addition to Kelce, there are three other key starters who might be fighting to play in the regular season finale. Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco could be itching to take some meaningful snaps, as he’s 65 yards away from recording his first season with over 1,000 yards.

Wide receiver Rashee Rice only needs more 62 yards before notching 1,000 yards in his rookie season.

As for defensive tackle Chris Jones, he earns a $1.25 million bonus if he records 10 sacks, per AtoZ Sports. Thus far this season, Jones has tallied 9.5 sacks.

Despite the huge incentive, the veteran suggested he’ll be fine with whatever Reid decides after defeating the Bengals on New Year’s Eve. “I want to play, okay?” Jones told reporters. “I want to play. But I understand the importance.

“Usually, for the past few years, we’ve had a bye week… If Coach Reid decides to rest us, I’ll more than likely take the rest. I could use the week off. I’ve got a few nicks and bruises. I’m sure the team could use it.”

Rice, Pacheco, and Jones were all listed on Wednesday’s injury report, per Fox 4 KC’s Harold R. Kuntz, with Reid emphasizing their need to rest. If they’re not 100%, it’s hard to imagine Reid letting any of them play on Sunday.

Travis Kelce Made a Strong Statement About the ‘Energy’ on the Chiefs Sidelines

Against the Bengals, during which the Chiefs clinched their eighth-straight AFC West title, Kelce was barely a factor. The 34-year-old tight end recorded just three receptions for 16 yards. While the Chiefs offense as a whole continued to struggle, Kelce said there was a different, most positive vibe during the matchup.

“That was a fun game to be a part of,” Kelce said on the latest episode of his “New Heights” podcast. “It’s the first game I’ve had in a while where the energy felt right on the sideline. The excitement for everybody’s success, not just out there trying to do your job. And guys were making plays. Guys were comfortable out there.”

Kelce lost his cool during the Chiefs’ collapse against the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Day, spiking his helmet in anger. After receiving a stern chat from Reid, the All-Pro tight end vowed to use that competitive energy in a better way.

“He wanted to see the fire in me and I reacted in a bad way,” Kelce revealed on his podcast last week. “He wanted to just get the best out of me, and right now I’m just not playing my best football. I gotta f****** lock the f*** in, be more accountable for him, be more accountable for my teammates. I gotta keep my f****** cool because as a leader on this team that’s not how you switch the momentum.”