Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chiefs-Pats to Showcase Top Tight Ends

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chiefs-Pats to Showcase Top Tight Ends

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. * Travis Kelce has always been competitive, whether it was on the playground as a kid, the Cleveland Heights football field in high school, or inside Nippert Stadium at the University of Cincinnati.

It didn't change when he was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, either.

If anything, the tight end became even more competitive, setting a goal to be the best player at his position in the NFL.

And on Saturday, he'll have his biggest platform yet to state his case when the Chiefs visit the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs.

On the other sideline? Rob Gronkowski, considered to be the best tight end in the game, although he has been limited in practice this week due to back and knee problems.

"I have no control over what that guy does. He has no control over what I do," Kelce said.

"Rob's been an outstanding tight end, needless to say all the stuff he's been able to do in the league. But we're in a single elimination game. I have no focus or care for what that offense does."

Nor does Gronkowski care what the Kansas City offense does. Both tight ends are focused on beating the opposing defense, not beating each other in catches or yards or touchdowns.

It sure is an interesting game within the game, though.

Gronkowski was the Patriots' leading receiver with 1,176 yards this season, while Kelce was the Chiefs' second-leading receiver with 875. That put both of them in the top four in the AFC among tight ends, with Gronkowski at the peak of the ladder and Kelce just a few rungs below.

They are also first and fourth, respectively, in yards receiving over the past two years. But it's Kelce who has the most yards- after-catch among tight ends over that time with 1,045. Gronkowski is next at 1,022, another example of just how closely they mirror each other.

"We see a very good tight end in practice every day, so that's great. Very challenging for us," Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said.

"But there's a lot of good tight ends in the league. …

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