Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City Chiefs’

Patrick Mahomes had all the answers for solving Tampa Bay’s stingy defense, winning his latest matchup against Tom Brady in the stadium where the seven-time Super Bowl winner dealt him one of his most disappointing losses.

Mahomes threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns, including an electrifying jump pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, to lead the Chiefs to a 41-31 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday night.

Playing at sold out Raymond James Stadium only four days after Hurricane Ian ravaged portions of Florida, Mahomes had TD throws of 16 yards to Travis Kelce, 1 yard to Edwards-Helaire and 10 yards to Jody Fortson while making NFL history by reaching 20,000 yards passing faster than anyone else.

Edwards-Helaire and tight end Noah Gray rushed for TDs for the Chiefs (3-1), who won the first meeting between Mahomes and Brady since Tampa Bay’s 31-9 rout of Kansas City in the Super Bowl — also played at Raymond James Stadium — two seasons ago.

“When I came into the stadium I realized that I hadn’t been here and the bad taste I had last time came into effect,” Mahomes said. “But it’s still not a playoff game. It’s a regular-season game, which is important. That Super Bowl will always leave a bad taste for me.”

The short pass to Edwards-Helaire was Mahomes at his improvisational best: He escaped two defenders, did a 360-degree spin move and flipped the ball over a crowd to the running back in the back of the end zone.

“I was able to use my speed, my little bit of speed, to get around the edge there. I was gonna run for it, but they kind of flew around me,” Mahomes said. “I realized I wasn’t going to make it and I saw Clyde, so I kind of flicked it up to him.”

Brady noted it’s fun watching Mahomes, unless he’s on the opposing sideline.

“I love seeing Patrick play. … Unfortunately we’re on the wrong end of it tonight,” said Brady, who’s 1-2 against the Chiefs quarterback since joining the Bucs in 2020 after two decades with the New England Patriots.

Brady completed 39 of 52 passes for 385 yards and three TDs without an interception for Tampa Bay (2-2). The Bucs, however, played from behind the whole night after rookie Rachaad White fumbled the opening kickoff and Mahomes threw his TD pass to Kelce two plays later.

The Chiefs also got into the end zone on three of their next four possessions, with Mahomes repeatedly shredding the Tampa Bay defense with pinpoint passes and Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco taking turns running the ball effectively.

“It’s a team sport. We didn’t play great on offense. We didn’t help (the defense) much, either,” Brady said.

“We didn’t do great in the first half. Too many missed opportunities on third downs, turnovers. We gotta play a lot better to be one of the good teams,” the seven-time Super Bowl winner added. “We haven’t played our best yet this year.”

Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed sacked Brady, forcing a fumble that Mahomes turned into Gray’s TD, with the tight end taking a direct snap from center on the 1-yard plunge that put Kansas City up 28-10.

Brady threw TD passes of 13 yards and 1 yard to Mike Evans, who returned from serving a one-game suspension for his role in a on-field brawl at New Orleans two weeks ago. He had eight receptions for 103 yards.

Evans’ second TD trimmed Kansas City’s lead to 28-17 at halftime. That was as close as the Bucs got until Leonard Fournette’s 5-yard TD reception cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to 41-31 with 3:30 remaining.

Brady wouldn’t get the ball back until less than a minute was left.

Kansas City finished with 417 yards of total offense, including a 189-3 edge on the ground, against a defense that had allowed a league-low 27 points through three games.

“Everything in this game fell on the defensive side of the ball,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles said. “You name it we did it. Missed tackles. Missed assignments. Bad calls.”

The Bucs sacked Mahomes three times and intercepted him once, but it was not the “coming out party” linebacker Shaquil Barrett thought his team could have against an offensive line the Chiefs have overhauled since struggling against Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl loss.

With Hurricane Ian approaching the Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Bucs evacuated for four days to the Miami area, where they practiced Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Dolphins’ training facility while the NFL made contingency plans to move the game to Minneapolis if it couldn’t be played in Tampa.

The Glazer family that owns the Bucs has announced it is donating $1 million for hurricane relief. The NFL Foundation is matching that donation, and the Bucs on Sunday night began a “Florida Strong” campaign to raise funds, as well as honor emergency personnel and first responders.

Players and fans observed a “moment of support” prior the national anthem, and the Bucs also paid tribute to those affected by the hurricane in a video presentation displayed on giant scoreboard screens before the game.

INJURIES

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker (ankle) was inactive for the third straight game. … Bucs WRs Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee ), as well as LT Donovan Smith (elbow), played for the first time since Tampa Bay’s season-opening victory at Dallas. … Bucs CB Logan Ryan left with a foot injury in the first quarter. … TE Cameron Brate (concussion) and CB Carlton Davis (stinger) left in the second half.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Return home to face the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday, Oct. 10.

Buccaneers: Host the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.

Matt Ryan threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to rookie Jelani Woods with 24 seconds left Sunday to give the Indianapolis Colts a 20-17 comeback victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Ryan earned his first win with the Colts in their home opener by hooking up with Woods for both Indianapolis touchdowns, one week after they were shut out at Jacksonville.

But it took a 16-play, 76-yard drive — aided by a personal foul call on Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones following a third-down sack — for Indy (1-1-1) to snap a four-game winless streak that included two losses late last season.

They sealed it with Rodney McLeod Jr.’s interception with 2 seconds to play.

Ryan finished 27 of 37 for 222 yards in his 225th career start. He was sacked five times and lost two fumbles.

For the Chiefs (2-1), it was a rare September misfire. Mahomes fell to 13-3 in the opening month while going 20 of 35 for 262 yards, one TD and his first interception of the season.

Kansas City had chances.

Matt Amendola missed an extra point in the first half and a 34-yard field goal with 8:38 remaining. Tommy Townsend also threw an incompletion on a fake field goal early in the fourth.

GETTING WORDY

Mahomes also wasn’t happy with the play-calling at the end of the first half and as the Chiefs walked off the field, he let offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy know about it. The two exchanged words on the field before coach Andy Reid stepped between them.

INJURY REPORT

Chiefs: Right tackle Andrew Wylie finished the game after briefly leaving in the second quarter with an undisclosed injury. Safety Bryan Cook jogged off the field after staying on the ground after the second-half kickoff.

Colts: Safety Julian Blackmon (left ankle) and cornerback Stephon Gilmore (hamstring) both left in the first half. Gilmore returned, Blackmon did not.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Visit Tampa Bay to take on Tom Brady next Sunday night.

Colts: Host Tennessee next Sunday in a key AFC South showdown.

Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes, rookie Jaylen Watson returned an interception 99 yards for the go-ahead fourth-quarter score, and the Kansas City Chiefs held on to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 on Thursday night.

Mahomes finished with 235 yards passing, and Jerick McKinnon and Justin Watson hauled in the TD passes for the Chiefs (2-0), who fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter and spent most of the game playing catch-up.

Jaylen Watson finally put the Chiefs ahead after the Chargers (1-1), answering Matt Ammendola’s tying field goal, marched to the Kansas City 3. Justin Herbert was eyeing tight end Gerald Everett when Watson, a seventh-round pick making his first start, stepped in front of the pass with 10:29 to go and ran nearly untouched the other way to the end zone.

Things became worse for the Chargers (1-1) two series later when Herbert was drilled by Mike Danna delivering a throw. He left the field clutching his side, returned one play later, then threw an incompletion that forced the Chargers to punt.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire promptly split the defense on a 52-yard run to set up a field goal for Kansas City.

Herbert, who finished with 334 yards and three touchdown passes, gamely tried to keep the Chargers alive. He threw a 36-yard dart on fourth down to extend their ensuing possession, then found Joshua Palmer in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-goal to pull Los Angeles within 27-24 with just over a minute to go.

Kansas City recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock on a crucial AFC West win.

The highly anticipated showdown between two of the league’s prolific young quarterbacks, each surrounded by premier playmakers, turned out early on to be a defensive slugfest.

The Chargers held the Chiefs to 13 yards in the first quarter, thanks to relentless pressure from Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack and the fact that Derwin James Jr. was just about everywhere, and kept a team that scored 44 points last week in Arizona off the scoreboard until Mahomes slung a sidearm pass to McKinnon early in the second quarter.

The Chargers fared better offensively, even though go-for-broke coach Brandon Staley opted to play conservatively, twice punting on fourth-and-2 near midfield. Dustin Hopkins kicked an early field goal before Mike Williams, dominating smaller Chiefs defensive backs, put the Chargers in position for Zander Horvath to catch a short TD pass.

Staley finally went for it on fourth down on the opening drive of the second half. And one play after Austin Ekeler picked it up, Williams made a one-handed grab around Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed to give the Chargers a 17-7 lead.

The game appeared to be getting away from the Chiefs when Mahomes was intercepted by Asante Samuel Jr. on their next possession. But replays showed Samuel didn’t control the ball and the call was overturned, and Mahomes capitalized on his second chance by throwing a 41-yard strike to Justin Watson for a touchdown.

The Chiefs tied it 17-all on the first play of the fourth quarter when Ammendola, who was signed earlier this week to replace the injured Harrison Butker, knocked through a chip shot on fourth down at the goal line.

That set up Jaylen Watson’s pick-6 and the first lead that Kansas City had all night.

PRIME TIME

The game was the first in the $13 billion, 11-year deal between the NFL and Amazon Prime to exclusively stream Thursday night games. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the sideline before kickoff.

INJURIES

Chargers C Corey Linsley (knee) and RT Trey Pipkins III (ankle) left in the third quarter. … Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman hurt his ankle in the third quarter but returned to the game. Danna left in the fourth quarter with a calf injury.

UP NEXT

The Chargers return home to face Jacksonville on Sept. 25. The Chiefs visit Indianapolis the same day.

Patrick Mahomes threw for 360 yards and five touchdowns, lifting the Kansas City Chiefs to an impressive 44-21 road win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in the opener for both teams.

The game was never in doubt after the opening minutes, with Mahomes picking apart the Cardinals’ defense with his usual array of good decisions and deft passing touch. The quarterback was playing his first NFL game against Kliff Kingsbury, who coached Mahomes in college at Texas Tech and now leads the Cardinals.

The student put on quite a show for his mentor: The 2018 MVP threw three touchdown passes on Kansas City’s first three drives.

Tight end Travis Kelce caught eight passes for 121 yards and a touchdown. It was his 30th career game with at least 100 yards receiving. Clyde Edwards-Helaire hauled in two touchdown passes.

Kansas City outgained Arizona 488 yards to 282. Mahomes completed 30 of 39 passes.

The onslaught started in a hurry.

Kansas City jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the opening drive, capping an 11-play, 75-yard march with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Kelce. The Chiefs pushed ahead 14-0 later in the first on a nifty play from Mahomes, who threw an underhanded shovel pass to Edwards-Helaire for the 3-yard score.

The Chiefs led 23-7 by halftime after Harrison Butker, who missed part of the first half with a left ankle injury, made a 54-yard field goal with two seconds left in the second quarter.

Kansas City — which is trying to make the AFC title game for a fifth straight season — had a 37-7 advantage by the fourth quarter.

It was a rough start for Arizona, which also suffered through a brutal ending to 2021. The Cardinals have lost six of seven games dating to last season, including the playoffs.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was playing his first game since being rewarded with a $230.5 million, five-year contract during the offseason. He finished 22-of-34 passing for 193 yards and two touchdowns, though much of that production came when the Chiefs already had control of the game.

The Cardinals came into Week 1 missing some of their best players. Three-time All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins was suspended for the season’s first six games after violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Star defensive lineman J.J. Watt was inactive because of a calf injury.

SAFETY KICKER

Butker left the game in the first quarter because of an ankle injury, so the Chiefs turned to safety Justin Reid to handle the job.

He actually did OK.

Reid was made 1 of 2 attempts on extra points and also blasted a kickoff through the back of the end zone for a touchback. The safety was prepared for his role as the emergency kicker: He made an extra point during a preseason game.

Butker returned late in the second quarter.

READY TO GO

Mahomes completed touchdown passes on the first three drives of Kansas City’s season. He’s the second quarterback to do that since at least 1991. The other was Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in 2011.

INJURIES

Chiefs: RG Trey Smith (ankle) left the game in the first half and didn’t return. … CB Trent McDuffie (hamstring) left the game in the second half.

Cardinals: Arizona entered the game with a banged-up roster, especially considering this is the first week of the season. WR Rondale Moore (hamstring), CB Trayvon Mullen (toe), OL Justin Pugh (neck) and Watt were all inactive because of injuries.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Host the Chargers on Thursday night.

Cardinals: Travel to face the Raiders next Sunday.

Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, whose unmistakable swagger in helping the Kansas City Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title earned him the nickname “Lenny the Cool,” died Wednesday. He was 87.

Dawson’s family announced his death in a statement through KMBC, the Kansas City-based television station where he starred in his second career as a broadcaster. No cause was given, though Dawson had been in declining health for years.

“With wife Linda at his side, it is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson,” the family’s statement read. “He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and friend. Len was always grateful and many times overwhelmed by the countless bonds he made during his football and broadcast careers.”

The MVP of the Chiefs’ victory over the Vikings in January 1970, Dawson had entered hospice care on Aug. 12.

“He loved Kansas City,” his family said, “and no matter where his travels took him he could not wait to return home.”

Dawson personified the Chiefs almost from the start, when the suave standout from Purdue lost out on starting jobs in Pittsburgh and Cleveland and landed with the nascent franchise, then located in Dallas. There, Dawson reunited with Hank Stram, who had been an assistant with the Boilermakers, and together they forever changed the franchise.

The coach and quarterback won the AFL championship together in 1962, their first year together, and became bona fide stars the following year, when club founder Lamar Hunt moved the team to Kansas City and rechristened it the Chiefs.

They proceeded to win two more AFL titles, one in 1966 when they lost to the Packers in the first Super Bowl, and the other in ’69, when Dawson came back from an injury to help beat the Vikings at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.

“Looking back on my career, I’ve been blessed for what I had the opportunity to do,” Dawson said told The Associated Press in 2017, shortly after he announced his retirement from his second career as a Hall of Fame broadcaster.

“I could not have accomplished so much without my teammates and colleagues, and I’m grateful for each of them.”

Dawson always remained a beloved figure in Kansas City, even though he cut back on public appearances several years ago when his health began to fail him. But he always had time for fans, whether it be a photograph or signature, the latter often on an iconic black-and-white photo from halftime of that first Super Bowl: the exhausted quarterback, white uniform caked with mud, sitting on a folding chair with a cigarette in his mouth and a bottle of Fresca at his feet.

It perfectly captured a time and place. And it perfectly captured a man that embodied poise and self-assurance.

“Next to my father, few people have had a more lasting impact on the Kansas City Chiefs than Len Dawson,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said a few years ago. “Over the course of a legendary career, first as a player and later as a broadcaster, Len has been a part of every major moment in franchise history.”

Dawson was born June 20, 1935, the ninth of 11 children that filled the house of James and Annie Dawson in the blue-collar manufacturing town of Alliance, Ohio. He was a three-sport athlete at Alliance High School, setting records in both football and basketball, and turned his success on the gridiron into a scholarship offer from Purdue.

There, Dawson led the NCAA in passing efficiency as a sophomore while also playing defense and kicking, and he helped lead a memorable upset of Notre Dame during that 1954 season. By the end of his college career, Dawson had thrown for more than 3,000 yards, despite playing in an era that favored ground-and-pound football.

Dawson was chosen by the Steelers in the first round of the 1957 draft, but he wound up riding the bench behind Earl Morrall as a rookie and then failed to beat out Bobby Layne for he starting job the following season. The Steelers ultimately traded him to the Browns, where Dawson was unable to beat out Milt Plum for the job and was released.

One of the great disappointments of Dawson’s career wound up being one of the best things to ever happen to him.

With newfound freedom to sign anywhere, Dawson jumped to the upstart AFL and the Texans, lured in part by the chance to play for one of his old coaches at Purdue. Stram was able to finally tap into his talent, helping Dawson to quickly become one of the league’s prolific passers as the Texans went 11-3 and won the first of three championships.

The second came in 1966, when Dawson led the Chiefs to an 11-2-1 record and a 31-7 blowout of the Bills in the AFL title game. That earned the Chiefs the chance to face the powerhouse Green Bay Packers — and coach Vince Lombardi — in the inaugural Super Bowl, where Dawson threw for 210 yards and a touchdown in a 35-10 defeat.

It was the 1969 season that proved to be the most memorable of Dawson’s career, though. He sustained a serious knee injury against the Patriots in Week 2, forcing him to miss the next five games, but went on a tear once he returned to the field. Dawson led the Chiefs to victories over the defending champion Jets and bitter rival Raiders to reach what would be the final Super Bowl before the AFL-NFL merger, where he threw for 142 yards and a score in a 23-7 triumph.

“It was overwhelming,” Dawson said afterward. “It’s just, you know how that relief comes with you know it’s over with, and we’ve been successful? That’s the feeling that I had when I came off the field.”

Dawson continued to play for six more seasons in Kansas City, setting many franchise records that stood until a youngster named Patrick Mahomes came along, before hanging up his helmet after the 1975 season.

Along the way, Dawson parlayed what began as a publicity stunt into a second career in broadcasting.

In 1966, then-Chiefs general manager Jack Steadman wanted to drum up support for the franchise in Kansas City and convinced Dawson to anchor a sports segment on the nightly news. His natural charisma and folksy style made Dawson a natural, he turned his attention to TV and radio on a full-time basis after his playing career had finished.

Dawson continued to work in local TV for several decades, adding game analysis for NBC from 1977-82 and hosting HBO’s iconic “Inside the NFL” from 1977-2001. He also served more than three decades on the Chiefs’ radio broadcast team.

After going into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1987, Dawson was inducted as a broadcaster in 2012.

“It’s been a true privilege and honor to have Len at the center of our broadcast team for the last 33 years,” said Dan Israel, the executive producer of the Chiefs’ radio network, upon his retirement a few years ago. “His contributions to not only this sport, but our industry, are incredibly profound.”

Dawson was married to his high school sweetheart, Jackie, from 1954 until her death in 1978, and together they had two children. His second wife, Linda, remained by his side even when Dawson was forced to enter hospice care.

Quarterback Josh Allen hasn’t moved on from the Buffalo Bills‘ dramatic playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

During an appearance on the “Bussin with the Boys” podcast, Allen said that losing the overtime coin toss affected him more than losing the divisional-round game, according to Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith.

The 26-year-old signal-caller and Patrick Mahomes went back and forth throughout the contest to send the game to overtime tied at 36. However, Allen didn’t call the coin toss correctly and had to watch from the sideline as Mahomes drove down for a walk-off touchdown.

Allen blamed a production meeting prior to the matchup for jinxing his winning ways in the coin toss.

“Up to that point, I think I was 9-0 throughout the season. In our production meeting, it was jinxed, and I was 0-for-2 in that game,” Allen said. “They brought up that stat, you’re 9-0 … I go 0-2 on coin tosses that game.”

He added: “I switched it up, I went heads first, and then I went tails at the end, and it was obviously flip-flopped.”

Allen threw for 329 yards with four touchdowns in the contest. The 42-36 shootout will forever be remembered as a postseason classic, but Allen isn’t taking much satisfaction in its meaning.

“People still come up to me and talk about it. That’s the game people talk about,” Allen said. “To be a part of it is great, but to be on the losing end of it is not so great. It doesn’t make me feel any better when someone comes up and says, ‘That was the greatest game I’ve ever seen.’ It’s like, we lost.”

The NFL later updated its postseason overtime rules by guaranteeing both teams at least one possession in response to the Chiefs-Bills matchup.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said Thursday that he was “surprised a little” when former teammate Tyreek Hill aired his frustrations about his time in Kansas City.

Hill said the Chiefs failed to utilize him enough and weren’t willing to negotiate near the $25 million-$26 million annual figure that he was looking for in an extension. The Miami Dolphins wide receiver made the comments on the first episode of his new podcast, “It Needed To Be Said,” which was released last Friday.

“We loved Tyreek here, we’ve always loved him, we still love him,” said Mahomes.

He added: “I’m sure it had something to do with trying to get his podcast some stuff and get it rolling. But definitely, I still love Tyreek, he’s a one-of-a-kind player. But as you know in coach (Andy) Reid’s offense, it takes the whole team. … It’s an offense that’s more than one player, and that includes myself.”

Mahomes said he hasn’t spoken to Hill since the podcast came out, but noted that they ran into each other at the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix in May.

Hill had a career-high 111 receptions for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021.

However, his workload declined as the season went on. After seeing 11.1 targets per game across the first 11 games, his average dropped to 7.2 targets per game for the final nine matchups (including playoffs).

Hill also asserted that Tua Tagovailoa, his new quarterback with the Dolphins, had better accuracy than Mahomes. The former MVP said he didn’t care about the perception of him as a gunslinger.

“It doesn’t get to me at all,” said Mahomes. “As long as we’re winning football games and we’re putting up points, I think I’m doing my job the right way.”

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill opened up about the circumstances that led to his trade from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Miami Dolphins.

“There was a lot of times during the year that we felt that Tyreek was underutilized and wasn’t fully appreciated and that they really weren’t taking full advantage of all his ability and talent,” Hill’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his client’s “It Needed To Be Said” podcast.

Hill pointed out that inconsistency with targets throughout the season was among multiple factors that contributed to his departure from Kansas City.

“If teams are gonna give us favorable one-on-one matches against their best corner, I don’t see why teams don’t utilize their best receiver,” Hill said.

“Tyreek wanted to be there,” Rosenhaus added. “Tyreek wanted to be in Kansas City. We tried to do an extension with them.”

The former fifth-round receiver says he was willing to return to the Chiefs on a deal that averaged $25 million to $26 million in annual salary, but the Chiefs weren’t willing to negotiate near those numbers.

Hill, a three-time All-Pro, racked up a career-high 111 receptions with 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021. After the season, Hill informed the team that he would like to remain with the franchise. However, the club was “millions of dollars short” when it came to offering guaranteed money, according to Rosenhaus.

Hill was ultimately dealt to Miami in exchange for five draft picks, including a 2022 first-round selection. The six-time Pro Bowl wideout then signed a four-year, $120-million extension with the Dolphins that included $72.2 million in guarantees.

The Chiefs opted to move on by signing veterans JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling to pair with All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.

Miami, meanwhile, added a versatile weapon in Hill to its passing attack that features Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson. Hill also offered high praise for his new quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, saying he’s more accurate than former teammate Patrick Mahomes.

“Obviously, like I’m gonna go with 15 (Mahomes) as the strongest arm, but as far as accuracy-wise, I’m going with Tua all day.”

Heading into the final stretch of his NFL career, Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce says he’s focused more on winning than maximizing his earnings.

“Money, in my mind, is almost secondary at this point in my career,” Kelce said Thursday, according to The Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff. “I’m here for the legacy, and I’m here to try and make the Kansas City Chiefs the best team possible. That’s my main focus. That’s why I’m here.”

The comments come after San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle told Mike Florio of the “Pro Football Talk” podcast May 20 that the pay disparity between tight ends and wide receivers “boggles (his) mind.”

But Kelce made it clear that he isn’t looking to renegotiate his contract.

“I appreciate Kittle saying that. That’s my guy, and he always wants to see every tight end get paid as much as their production is,” Kelce said. “At the same time, I signed my contract understanding what I had. I put a lot into this.”

Kittle tops the tight end market with a $15-million annual salary, while Kelce sits in second at $14.31 million, according to Spotrac. Kelce’s annual salary is topped by 22 wide receivers.

The receiver market exploded this offseason. Davante Adams signed a five-year, $141.25-million extension following his trade to the Las Vegas Raiders to briefly top the position at over $28 million per season.

Kelce’s former teammate, Tyreek Hill, then exceeded that mark by nearly $2 million per year, inking a four-year, $120-million deal with the Miami Dolphins.

But it’s Kelce who’s been the most productive receiver over the past six seasons, racking up an NFL-high 7,267 receiving yards. Meanwhile, his 565 catches are second to only Adams, and his 47 touchdown catches rank sixth.

The 32-year-old is also riding a streak of six straight 1,000-yard seasons, a feat no other tight end in NFL history has achieved.

Kelce – whose contract runs through the 2025 season – could have an even bigger workload in 2022 following Hill’s departure.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes believes it will take a group effort to replace departed star wide receiver Tyreek Hill this season.

“That’s what you’re going to see with this offense this year,” Mahomes said Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “It’s going to be everybody. It’s not all going to be one guy. Obviously (tight end Travis Kelce) is still going to get a lot of completions, a lot of yards, but the whole receiving room is going to have big days, and that can be something we use to our advantage.

“It’s a very deep receiving room. It’s hard to tell which guys are going to make it because we’ve got so many good receivers. That’s what you want. You want that competition. You want guys competing every single day to make the roster because they’re going to help us in the end.”

Hill’s trade request after extension talks with the Chiefs stalled was arguably one of the biggest surprises of a drama-filled NFL offseason. The team shipped him to the Miami Dolphins in late March for a package that included a first-round pick.

The 28-year-old speedster led the Chiefs with 111 catches for 1,259 yards and nine touchdowns last season, while no other wideout on the team exceeded 700 yards.

Kansas City aggressively worked to rebuild its receiver group, with free agents JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling signing one- and three-year deals, respectively.

The reigning AFC West champions also drafted Skyy Moore in the second round and added former Clemson star Justyn Ross as an undrafted free agent. Ross was viewed as a possible first-round selection before being diagnosed with a congenital spinal condition and missing the entire 2020 season.

Mahomes got to grips with his new weapons during workouts he organized in Texas.

“I think we got some chemistry in … working out with them, throwing with them, we’d go to lunch, we’d go to dinner, stuff like that,” Mahomes said. “You kind of build chemistry.

“I think it’s translated. So far in the practices, we feel like we’re on the same page … and we’re going to keep building on that.”