Travis Kelce Says He’s ‘So Much More Professional on the Field Now’: ‘It’s More of a Mental Game’

The three-time Super Bowl champion explains how his approach on the field has changed ahead of his 12th season in the NFL

<p>Patrick Smith/Getty </p> Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs

As Travis Kelce prepares for his 12th season in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs tight end says he approaches the game differently now.

In an interview on the set of his shoot for Zen Water's "Find Yours" campaign, Kelce, 34, says, "I'm so much more professional on the field now," after having been in the league for a decade.

"When I was younger, it was kind of like, just go out here and, man, it's gonna be a hard practice, you're gonna be running a lot," Kelce continues, "and I wouldn't complain about it, but I would just know it's gonna be a grind."

The three-time Super Bowl champ explains, "Nowadays, I'm thinking more of why Coach Reid loves this play. Why does Pat [Mahomes] like this route versus this coverage? It's more of a chess mentality of how we're going to beat our opponents than it is just I'm an athlete and I'm just a football player."

<p>David Eulitt/Getty</p> Patrick Mahomes #15 and Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs

David Eulitt/Getty

Patrick Mahomes #15 and Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs

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Heading into a new season as the back-to-back champions, Kelce says he puts more emphasis on "understanding your opponent a little bit more," which has led to football becoming "more of a mental game" for the NFL star, which he credits the Chiefs organization for.

"I think I've been in a very beautiful organization that's given me the opportunity to grow as an athlete and off the field. So, a lot of that is film prep and just an overall understanding of what we're trying to do as a team offensively," Kelce explains.

He adds, "I think that's what's really been able to keep me playing fast in the league."

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Specifically, Kelce commends head coach Andy Reid for helping him find success on the field.

"Coach Reed does a great job. The biggest thing he says is don't lose your personality. Let that thing show. You don't get that type of leadership in every single, you know, every office, every building. A lot of people like to control that and not let you get too wild and having great mentors," he shares.

<p>Perry Knotts/Getty </p> Travis Kelce, #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs

Perry Knotts/Getty

Travis Kelce, #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs

Related: Travis Kelce Lets Loose in Behind the Scenes Video of His ZenWTR Campaign: ‘Don’t Lose Your Personality’

Kelce also says the support from people in his life has helped him become one of the league's brightest stars – and the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.

"Having great coaches, having great family members and friends, I feel like that's the biggest thing in terms of growth is just having people around you that can check you, but also give you confirmation and reassurance that you're doing the things the right way," Kelce says.

In April, Kelce signed a contract extension with the Chiefs worth more than $17 million a year, which will make him the highest-paid tight end in the league,’s Ian Rapoport reported.

The nine-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro had 93 receptions for 984 yards and five touchdowns last season.

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