Travis Kelce: Everything We Know About The NFL Tight End

Travis Kelce is on his way to another Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs as their tight end. Sporting a four-year, $57 million contract extension, Kelce is the second-highest-paid tight end in the NFL, just below George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers who signed a five-year contract extension last year for $75 million, according to The Ringer. Despite being number two in money, Kelce was ranked as the number one tight end in the NFL for the 2020 season by CBS Sports. If Kelce and the rest of the Kansas City Chiefs are able to pull off the back-to-back Super Bowl win, that'll only secure his status in the NFL as one of the greats. 

While Kelce is most known for what he's done on the field, there's still a lot more to know about the Ohio native off the field. Just from a quick trip to his team's website, you could find out that Kelce attended the University of Cincinnati and was the 63rd pick in the 2013 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. You might also know that he's currently back together with his girlfriend, Kayla Nicole, after the two took a break in August, according to TMZ. However, you might not know some of these other fun facts about the NFL superstar. 

Kelce was on a reality TV dating show

Before he was dating Kayla Nicole, Kelce was the bachelor in his very own reality TV dating show. In 2016, the tight end had his very own "The Bachelor"-like show named "Catching Kelce" for E!. According to TV Insider, the show differed from "The Bachelor" in a couple of ways. It wasn't as grand of a spectacle, but what it missed in quality it more than made up for in quantity. Fifty different women tried to catch the tight end, and only one would be left standing in the end zone to spike the ball.

While Kelce did end up choosing Maya Benberry in the series finale, the two ultimately went their separate ways in 2017. He didn't find love, but he did give his coach plenty of ammo for future jabs. According to The Bleacher Report, the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid, even named a play after Kelce's dating show: "Catching Kelce." Only this time, Kelce did the catching and even scored a touchdown.

Kelce is not a hot sauce guy

Over the years, many celebrities have accepted the challenge of guesting on the First We Feast show, "Hot Ones." Actors, like Paul Rudd and Daniel Radcliffe, have been interviewed by host, Sean Evans while eating wings that progressively get hotter. In 2016, while promoting "Catching Kelce," the NFL tight end decided to test whether he could handle the sauces. It would prove to be a mistake. 

Immediately in the interview, Kelce confessed that he is "not a big spicy food guy" (via YouTube). At one point, the footballer even gets dizzy from the heat and has a hard time paying attention to the questions being asked of him. While Kelce suffers, it is an entertaining interview to watch. Some of the most LOL-worthy "Hot Ones" episodes are the ones where the guests can't take the heat, and Kelce was first to admit that this was a bad idea for him. 

Kelce owns the Marty McFly shoes from 'Back to the Future'

Kelce is a self-proclaimed "sneakerhead." He has an impressive collection, which can be seen in the background of his Zoom meetings (via Heavy). His love for sneakers almost had him completely broke. The tight end used most of his paycheck for his rookie year on shoes, according to The Bleacher Report. He confessed in an interview on Shannon Sharpe's YouTube series Club Shay Shay that his first big purchase was the Marty McFly shoes from "Back to the Future" (via YouTube). 

In the "Hot Ones" interview, Kelce revealed that he spent around $7500 on the shoes, but they're not just for display. The football player has worn them at least twice and doesn't understand why you would have sneakers if you weren't going to wear them. His sneaker love has proved to be beneficial. Kelce was included in Sports Illustrated's "Fashionable 50" list in 2018, according to the Kansas City Chiefs. Kelce even admitted in that interview that his favorite item of clothing is his "Nike Air MAG 'Marty McFly' from the movie Back to the Future."

There is a Reuben sandwich named after Kelce

If you're a Kansas City Chiefs fan, you might want to stop by McFadden's in downtown Kansas City. According to Arrowhead Pride, the restaurant has a whole "Kingdom Specials" menu that has items named after Kansas City Chiefs players. Kelce is one of the lucky few to have a sandwich named after him — the Kelce's Cincinnati Reuben. The sandwich pays homage to the fact that Kelce went to the University of Cincinnati. Its contents include beef, Swiss cheese, and "loads of sauerkraut."

If you're wondering if Kelce has tried the Kelce's Cincinnati Reuben; he has. The tight end talked about the sandwich on his "Hot Ones" episode and even tweeted about it in 2014 with a picture with #scrumptious. You can try out the Kelce's Cincinnati Reuben for yourself to see if it's as scrumptious as Kelce says, or you can try another one of the Chiefs menu items, like a McGrath's Lumberjack or The "Big Play" Hemingway. 

Kelce actually wanted to be a quarterback

When Kelce started his football career in high school, he was a quarterback. According to Sportscasting, Kelce actually picked the University of Cincinnati over Michigan, Michigan State, and West Virginia because he was told that he would get a chance to play as a quarterback for UC. The other colleges wanted him to play tight end. 

However, in 2010, Kelce was suspended from the Bearcats for failing a drug test (via USA Today). When he came back to the team, he was forced to play tight end only. That's when his quarterback career ended, but it was for the best. Former UC assistant coach, Mark Elder, said, "It was such a natural fit that we all thought tight end was what he should be doing" (via Cincinnati Enquirer). 

Now, Kelce is a top tight end in the league. He has one Super Bowl win and potentially another win on the way. 

Travis Kelce grew up in Ohio

Donna and Ed Kelce got married in the 1970s and decided to settle down and raise their family in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. From most reports it sounds like Travis and his brother Jason enjoyed their childhood in the state, but their mother Donna has admitted that raising two rambunctious boys who are less than two years apart in age had its challenges at times.

Donna once told Kansas City's Fox4 that the two boys definitely spent a lot of time going at one another, and Travis was usually the culprit behind their clashes. As she put it, "Yeah, it's a lot of broken windows, a lot of, you know, crashes, a lot of fighting. They were very, very competitive from a very early age. And Travis was always the one that was the instigator because he wanted his brother's attention."

Donna repeated this assertion in another interview with Today's Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin. While chatting on the show, she admitted, "Travis was alway trying to get at his older brother to pay attention to him, so there were a lot of fights."

Travis Kelce played football in college

Both Travis Kelce and his brother Jason attended college in Ohio, where they enrolled in classes at the University of Cincinatti. They each joined the school's football team as well, and Travis has been particularly outspoken about how much he enjoyed playing football for the university.

In fact, Travis is so grateful for his time at the school that he started an endowment fund in partnership with the UC Athletics Department. The fund is in the amount of $100 million, and is intended to establish the Sports Psychology and Counseling Department. Travis told local news that his own experiences with mental healt as an athlete were his primary motivation for starting the fund, and that there was no better time than the present to do so.

He explained to Fox19, "Being able to have that support system in place is part of the reason why I decided to start this endowment and give back to my alma mater and its athletic department. I'm at a place in my career where I'm able to share my experiences and lend resources to provide the university's student-athletes with the assistance they need to become the best versions of themselves they can be." 

Travis Kelce's brother also plays in the NFL

As many fans know, Travis Kelce isn't the only member of the family who plays in the NFL. His brother Jason is also in the league, albeit on a different team. The two brothers faced off against one antoher in the 2023 Super Bowl, and their mother Donna Kelce had plenty of thoughts about their showdown ahead of the big game.

While speaking on "New Heights," a podcast that Travis and Jason run together, Jason joked that his mother supports him more than Travis for one very important reason: grandchildren. He said, "You've said in the past to both of us that you root for me because I've given you grandkids" before he addedd, "I've always known that you root for Travis. So who do you actually root for?" Donna ultimately declined to answer the question, but not before Travis added his own joke about needing to find a "breeder" to have children with "so that mom can love me again" (via People).

Travis Kelce was in a relationship with influencer Kayla Nicole

Travis Kelce keeps his private life pretty guarded, but for a while it was very clear that he and influencer Kayla Nicole were in a relationship — until it was clear that they weren't. Kelce and Nicole were together on and off for five years, and began their relationship back in 2017. Nicole once admitted that the pair met on Instagram, and that, "He had been following me and insta-flirting for a few months. All double taps and no dm. Soooo after a little liquid courage and a pep talk from @iqueenb (something along the lines of 'WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR') I dm'd him on New Years" (via TMZ).

Nicole wears a few different hats, and primarly works as an influencer online and an on-air sports journalist. As noted by People, Nicole graduated from Pepperdine University and has presented with ESPN and Barstool Sports.

The two first broke up in 2020, but reunited in the same year. They broke up again in May 2022 amid rumors that Kelce required Nicole to pay half for everything they did, despite their disparate incomes. Both Kelce and Nicole denied the rumor, and Nicole wrote on Twitter, "Not sure where y'all got this nonsense from, but it's absurd and very false."

Travis Kelce has a podcast with his brother

Travis Kelce and his brother Jason Kelce do more than play football — they are also hosts of a podcast called "New Heights." The two launched the podcast in September 2022 and have credited working together with making their relationship as brothers stronger. In February 2023, NBC Sports reported that Jason explained the podcast lets the two grow together each week. He said, "We get to talk to each other every week, we get to have fun and in some ways I feel like it's made my brother and I closer, talking every single week."

Travis echoed this sentiment, and explained to the news outlet that it's easy to get caught up in the routine of things, even when your routine is playing football on a national stage. Working on the podcast with his brother allows them both to pursue something outside of football. As he put it, working on the podcast together is having a profound impact on their relationship on and off the field.

Travis said, "So what this did was gave us a scheduled 2-3 hour window where we have to talk to each other and we have to talk about what we're going through, throughout the week and throughout the games. It's almost been like therapy, man" (via NBC Sports).