Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce had the best season of his career in 2016, catching 85 passes for over 1,100 yards and four touchdowns.
However, Kelce’s rise as one of the NFL’s most dominant tight ends might not have happened without a revelation in college.
According to ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill, in 2010, Kelce had been kicked off the football team at the University of Cincinnati for smoking marijuana.
Living in a house that included his brother, Eagles offensive lineman Jason Kelce, and Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe, Kelce took a job as a telemarketer surveying people on Obamacare while making $8 an hour. The cubicle life did not suit Travis’ vision.
“All I had been doing is playing outside, playing sports my entire life,” Kelce told ESPN. “I had never sat down and tried to earn a living like that. That’s not to hit on anybody’s 9-to-5; that’s just not for me.
“The light at the end of the tunnel was that if I do what I’m supposed to do instead of being a knucklehead, I can have a way better life than this.”
Kelce played on the Cincinnati scout team the next year before re-joining the team and becoming a college star. He was drafted in 2013 and has topped 800 yards in each of his three seasons in the NFL.
Heading into Sunday’s divisional round matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chiefs should be happy that Kelce didn’t fall in love with the telemarketing industry.