Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce fanned the flames of a budding rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens in the wake of a spat with kicker Justin Tucker before the AFC Championship Game.
Kelce talked about the tiff with Tucker in the latest episode of the “New Heights” podcast. Tucker said earlier in the week it was all about “gamesmanship” and he has not changed his routine. However, the star tight end appeared to take it a little bit more to heart.
“If you’re trying to go onto the other team’s designated area, you kind of stay out of their way. You don’t interfere with what they have going on,” Kelce said. “That’s the unwritten rule. If you want to be a f—ing d— about it, you keep your helmet, and your football, and your f—ing kicking tee right where the quarterbacks are warming up.
“And they’re dropping (back to pass) eyes are looking left and they got a helmet down by their feet. … If you’re not gonna pick that up, I’ll happily move that for you.”
Kelce facetiously said he “loved” how he was getting “painted as the bad guy.”
Tucker’s helmet and kicking balls were right at the goal line as he was stretching on the field near where Patrick Mahomes and Kelce warmed up.
Tucker downplayed the incident when talking to reporters.
“I find it kinda silly we even have to address it or talking about something that happened before the game I really don’t see as a big deal,” he said. “… For those that don’t know, the way it works is each team’s kicker goes to the other team’s designated warmup area on the field. For me, it’s usually about 90 minutes before kickoff.
“I’ve been doing the exact same thing for 12 years, never really had a problem with anybody. That’s kind of the way we’ve always done it. I saw Patrick there trying to warm up and get some dropbacks. He asked me while I was on the ground stretching if I could move my helmet.
“I happily got up and I moved my helmet out of the way – at least I thought it was enough out of the way – and then Travis comes over and just kicks my stuff and throws my helmet. I thought it was all just some gamesmanship, all in good fun, but they seemed to be taking it a little bit more seriously.”
Tucker said he was willing to let bygones be bygones after the little tiff.
“Never had an issue with anybody,” he added. “At the end of the day, we’re all professionals just trying to get ready for the football game. Those are two of the best players that have ever played the game at their respective positions.
“They were just trying to get ready for the football game. Obviously, it’s an intense environment, so it’s really whatever to me, man. I’m just trying to get ready for the football game.”
Kelce said Tucker was winking at him during the whole ordeal, “kinda being a d— about it.”
“But me and Pat, we’ve been having the same mentality for this game all week long,” Kelce said. “It was, you gotta go in there and have the right mind frame … and we just weren’t in a joking mood.”
Kansas City won the game 17-10.