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Tight end has become one of the most important positions in the NFL, as they’ve moved away from blocking duties to being incorporated into the passing game. Kansas City Chief Travis Kelce is one of the best examples of the modern tight end, with pass catching statistics that rival top wide receivers.
Kelce’s had an outstanding career in his own right, racking up over 1,000 yards receiving every year since 2016. That includes a monstrous 2020 season where he caught 105 balls for 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He’s well on his way to another incredibly successful year, with 322 yards and three touchdowns in four games.
Kelce’s undoubtedly been one of the best ever at his position, and if you don’t want to take someone else’s word for it, just ask him.
On a recent episode of his podcast, Travis Kelce explained who he’d put on his Mount Rushmore at his position, with one surprising addition:
He’s probably right, but it’s always funny to see a player add himself to a “greatest of all time” list.
Tony Gonzalez really set the bar for the modern tight ends, showing the league that they could be more than just an extension of the offensive line.
Rob Gronkowski took the new paradigm even further, teaming with Tom Brady to become one of the most prolific duos in NFL history.
Kellen Winslow Sr. was from a different era, yet had over 1,000 yards receiving in his first three full seasons.
They’re all deserving members, and Travis Kelce’s already passed Gronkowski in career receiving yards.
But he did leave off some other all-time greats, namely Antonio Gates, Shannon Sharpe, and longtime Cowboys star Jason Witten.
You can’t fit everyone on a Mount Rushmore, but maybe Kelce could have included one of those players instead of himself, especially considering he’s not done playing yet.
Gates, in particular, was undoubtedly the best at his position for a number of years. And Witten’s longevity, playing in 271 games, has only been matched by Tony Gonzalez.
There’s a lot to like about his list, and some to criticize. The good news for Travis Kelce is that he still has plenty of time to make his own selection even more justifiable.