From Suspended to Superstar: Travis Kelce’s Journey in the NFL

Travis Kelce believes a certain ‘red flag’ caused the Cowboys to pass on him in the 2013 NFL Draft

Travis Kelce was selected 62nd overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, after 61 other players were picked before him. Despite the initial doubts and skepticism he faced during his time at the University of Cincinnati, Kelce has since proved that he was worth the investment. One of the teams that passed on Kelce initially was the Dallas Cowboys, who expressed concerns about his character based on his time at Cincinnati.

Kelce recounted on his and brother Jason’s “New Heights” podcast how he had a bad interview with the Cowboys at the combine. He said that they were pressing him about his history of missing a season due to a marijuana suspension in 2010, which made them question his commitment to football. However, Kelce believes that these concerns were unwarranted and that he has since proven himself as a reliable and dedicated player.

“It ended really fast,” Kelce said of his combine meeting with Dallas. “I basically just said, ‘If you guys think I’m gonna be that kind of guy or you’re questioning if I’m still that person after everything I battled through to get where I am now from missing a season, then you guys (should) probably go somewhere else and pick somebody else.’ And that’s exactly what they did.” The Cowboys ultimately drafted tight end Gavin Escobar with the 47th overall pick, but Escobar caught only 30 passes in four seasons with the Cowboys before finishing his career with the Ravens in 2017.

Kelce has since become one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, winning nine Pro Bowl honors and four All-Pro titles during his time with Kansas City Chiefs. This past postseason, he won his third ring while also passing Jerry Rice for most postseason catches in history. Looking back on it now, Kelce knows that he should have been selected much earlier than he was, but he is grateful for being given a chance by Kansas City and proving himself as a valuable player on their team.

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